With the rising housing market, renting, or buying a house has been increasingly unaffordable or precarious for many Australians.
Content Warning: homelessness in no explicit detail.
For this edition on Policy Comparisons for the 2022 Australian Federal Election, we are looking at Housing and Homelessness. With the rising housing market, renting or buying a house has been increasingly unaffordable or precarious for many Australians. Meanwhile (for a variety of factors), homelessness has persisted with over 100,000 Australians without a safe and secure on any given night.
What do the parties and candidates say about these issues?
Liberal/ National Coalition
Key People: Michael Sukkar MP (Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing).
There are various Government initiatives to support new home buyers including HomeBuilder (grants toward renovations or home construction), First Home Super Saver Scheme (saving for homes using superannuation), and the Home Guarantee Scheme (the Government being the guarantor for certain home loans).
The Government has promised to increase the First Home Guarantee to 35,000 places a year (up from 10,000) along with a new 10,000 places for the Regional Home Guarantee. These Guarantee Schemes are meant to support people to buy a home sooner, with a lower required deposit. Given they are on the demand side (helping to give more money to people to buy homes), there is some criticism that they are also contributing to the problem (high competition and rising house prices).
More Liberal policies include:
- Enabling older Australians to put proceeds of selling their home into superannuation.
Key People: Jason Clare MP (Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness).
Labor’s housing policies have been revised since the 2019 Election (with a notable withdrawal of their plan to abolish negative gearing).
Their new plan includes increasing the amount of public housing with the creation of a $10 billion "Housing Australia Future Fund”. This would create 20,000 properties (over 5 years) and an additional 10,000 homes for frontline workers.
They have also proposed a home equity scheme Help to Buy. This would support lower income earners to buy a house, with the government contributing some 30-40% of the house value. While there are similar schemes at a state level, the Coalition has described the plan as “Antony Albanese at the dinner table”.
More Labor policies include:
- More accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
- The creation of a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council to oversee housing supply and housing affordability.
Key People: Senator Mehreen Faruqi (Spokesperson for Housing).
The Greens main housing policy is “1 million homes”. These would be publicly owned, affordable homes constructed over 20 years (including shared equity, universal access rental homes and public or community housing). They propose for the plan to be funded by greater taxes on billionaires and removing concessions for property developers.
The Greens propose to meet homelessness through the greater provision of affordable housing and universal access to public housing. They also want more action on early intervention and addressing the root causes of homelessness.
More Greens policies include:
- Rights for tenants against eviction.
- Increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
- Self-determination for First Nations people on housing and homelessness services.
Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie has called for more public and crisis accommodation, increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and capping the use of AirBnbs.
The housing policy of the Australian Democrats includes the construction of 100,000 affordable homes and 100,000 social housing units, along with greater rights for tenants and changes to negative gearing.
Reason Australia has called for greater investment in public and social housing, along with a more humane / less enforcement approach to homelessness.
The United Australia Party (UAP) wants to “save Australian home ownership” by capping home interest rates at 3%. The details are unclear given interest rates are currently determined by the independent Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).
Victorian Socialists have a “Housing for All” policy. This includes using inclusionary zoning to compel developers to have a proportion of affordable housing and increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 30%.