Australia requires a housing and homelessness plan that focuses on timely goals, success metrics, deliverables and a communication plan. It must include best practice, oversight and continual iteration to ensure we do not repeat mistakes.
Such a plan must ensure it maintains the public interest in all outcomes. For too long policy has been sculpted with overdue influence from vested interests engaging in rent-seeking. For too long policy has favoured one cohort over another, often masquerading as assistance for the poor but subsidising the wealthy. The resultant cost of households not being able to look after themselves has become a significant budget expenditure. We can no longer afford such wasted opportunities.
Australia’s post-manufacturing model of Big Housing, Big Infrastructure, Big Debt and Big Immigration is lazy economic policy and must change. Our economic model is orchestrated to create exactly the housing crisis we are enduring. We do this by stating we are in a housing supply crisis, but refuse to count the entire housing ecosystem (vacancy analysis). We do this by favouring policy fraud over deep-seated economic reform. We do this by relying on public commentators (often banking or real estate economists) to educate the public, rather than objectively teaching how community development naturally adds to locational advantage.
For more than 20 years land price inflation has outstripped wage growth. We are now feeling the pinch of such a reliance with the housing system at breaking point – just as 454,400 new immigrants arrive.
The commodification of housing has led to such a crisis, and until we address this, we will continue to feel the pressure throughout all layers of society. Policy makers must recognise that land ownership delivers significant market power. Without counter-balancing policy, an absence of competitive market outcomes will result.
This is threatening the social contract. Young people who have done all the right things are still unable to find security of tenure, the cornerstone of a property owning democracy.
We call these solid citizens the ‘missing moderates’ – middle income earners who no longer feel there is a place for them because the deposit gap keeps outpacing their savings.
The establishment of the National Housing Accord, creation of a National Housing and Homelessness Plan and the passing of the Housing Australia Future Fund present an opportunity to correct the course of the housing market in Australia. The history of the Great Australian Dream of home ownership has shaped the houses and communities we live in and the housing policies of governments for over 100 years. And while our communities and aspirations continue to grow more diverse, Australian housing policy has not kept up. We are now faced with a housing market that is no longer fit for purpose.
Our submission will focus on:
•Community Land Trusts and community led housing
•Planning, tax and supply
•The redirection of ineffective government subsidies.
Read the full submission, some of our best work yet.