Thursday, 28 October 2021
Dobell Electorate: Housing Affordability
Housing costs on the Central Coast are going through the roof, and the federal government is sitting on its hands. It's harder to buy than ever before, and it's harder to rent than ever before. The cost of rent on the Central Coast has jumped three times as much as it has in Sydney. In the year to September, the median rent in Sydney increased by 5.5 per cent. On the Central Coast, the median rent jumped by 15.9 per cent. This includes increases of 12.2 per cent in The Entrance North, 13 per cent in Bateau Bay and 15.3 per cent in Forresters Beach. As media have reported, national spokesperson for Everybody's Home, Kate Colvin, said that the federal government must step in. She said:
A ballooning number of Australians on low and middle incomes simply cannot compete for housing in the booming private sales and rental market …
She went on to say:
Unless the federal government steps up, homelessness services and other health and welfare services will be overwhelmed.
After almost a decade in government, housing affordability has only gotten worse under this government. This is impacting thousands of people in my community, people like Angela. Angela grew up on the Central Coast, and she'd like to buy a place on the coast with her partner for their three kids to grow up.
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 10:37 to 11:09
Angela wrote to me: 'My partner and I are very hard workers and would love to own our own home. Unfortunately, with the rising prices and COVID, this has been taken out of our hands. We're not the only hardworking Australian couple in this situation and we need help. I understand that there is help, but it's not the help we need. We need affordable housing that middle-class workers can afford. We need to, especially in these times, be given the opportunity, with the government's help, to be in a family home. There's little in the rental market, as you know, and the rent prices are exorbitant. Our future is uncertain and unstable. With three children living at home, this is scary. I don't know all the answers but I'm sure there's some out there.'
As Angela knows, there is no easy fix, but it does require leadership from the federal government. That's why I've invited shadow minister for housing and homelessness Jason Clare to visit the Central Coast tomorrow. I know Jason is keen to hear from Angela and others. And she's right—we need more housing that working people can afford, and Angela should have the opportunity to be in a family home.
One of the most obvious things we need to do is to build more affordable housing. That's why a Labor government will establish the Housing Australia Future Fund, which will build 30,000 social and affordable homes across the country. Over the first five years, it will build 20,000 new social housing properties, including 4,000 homes for women and children fleeing family and domestic violence and older women on fixed low incomes who are at risk of homelessness, and 10,000 affordable homes for the heroes of the pandemic—the frontline workers like police, nurses and cleaners who kept us safe during COVID and can't live close to home.
I met with the Homelessness Interagency this month about the crisis. They told me more and more local people are struggling to get into the housing market, renters are struggling to find permanent housing and more and more people are seeking refuge in homelessness shelters. It's not good enough. Coasties deserve better. Australians deserve better.