Senate debates

Thursday, 5 August 2021



1:34 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] It's Homelessness Week this week and Australia is in an affordable housing crisis. In a wealthy nation like ours, no-one should be without a roof over their heads. In Queensland we have 47,000 people who are on a waiting list for social housing. Some of them have been waiting for more than two years. I went up and down the coast of Queensland before lockdown, and we've got a huge problem right across our state. There are 5,000 on the waiting list in Cairns, there are almost a thousand in Rockhampton and there are almost 3,000 on the Sunshine Coast. Locals are being priced out of the private market, and they can't find anywhere to go.

We know that before COVID the fastest-growing cohort of people who were facing homelessness was older women. That's still the case, and it's gotten worse. Women over 45 years of age are the fastest growing cohort at risk of homelessness. There are 405,000 older women who are on the brink of homelessness. We can do so much better. We should have a massive housing build. The Greens would like to see a million homes built right across this country over the next 20 years because no-one should be without a home. That would create construction jobs and solve homelessness and the housing crisis. We need to change the tax settings that make it easier to own your fifth or sixth home than to buy your first home. That's why it was really sad to see the Labor Party backflip on their negative gearing and capital gains tax commitments—wrong way, go back. We need to work together to make sure that everyone can afford a roof over their head so we can generate that economic stimulus from a big housing build and stop subsidising people who don't need the help. The Greens in the balance of power will work with the next government—hopefully, a Labor one—to fix homelessness and the housing crisis that is plaguing our nation.