Call for Parliamentary inquiry following dire report into public housing

Greens MP and Housing spokesperson, Jan Barham, is calling for a Parliamentary inquiry into the housing affordability crisis, after an Auditor-General’s report today highlighted the failure of the public housing system.

“The Auditor-General has shown that the social housing sector isn’t able to meet the needs of our most vulnerable, yet the demand for urgent support is increasing. Between increasing housing affordability pressures and deteriorating public housing stock, the Government is unable to meet the needs of many vulnerable people across the state,” Ms Barham said.

“The existing public housing stock is old and neglected, and the Auditor-General’s recognition of the lack of planning for housing is of great concern.

“A Parliamentary inquiry into housing affordability is essential following this damning report. The inquiry must look at the social factors and the impact of disadvantage that can ultimately lead to homelessness, as well as the economic and planning issues affecting housing affordability. The crisis in housing demands new ideas to provide shelter for the vulnerable and make housing more affordable.

“We also need a clear picture about what the Government can do to deliver housing stock that is socially and financially sustainable. There are outstanding questions for the Government around the funds from the sale of lands and what is to be delivered from those sales,” Ms Barham said.

Ms Barham also expressed concern that the pressure to accommodate new priority tenants might see existing tenants who are also vulnerable or disadvantaged exposed to increased financial pressure and social disruption.

“The conclusions and recommendations in this report highlight the massive waiting lists and demands on social housing, but it’s important to also meet the ongoing needs of existing tenants, many of whom are from disadvantaged groups.

“The introduction of a bedroom tax and changes to tenancy succession could harm the financial and social wellbeing of existing tenants, many of whom are older or have a disability. An inquiry must consider strategies that recognise the importance of people’s existing community connections, while ensuring that more tenants can be accommodated in the public housing system,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061

Auditor-General’s report on Making the best use of public housing