Anglicare snapshot shows that it’s time for urgent action on housing affordability crisis

An important new Rental Affordability Snapshot from Anglicare highlights the need for broad reforms to housing policy and tenancy laws to address the crisis in the state’s housing sector, warn the Greens.

Jenny Leong, Greens MP for Newtown and Rental Housing spokesperson, said:

“The Greens have a plan for improving the rights of renters in Sydney to ease rental stress and provide people who are renting with more security.

“Rent increases in Sydney are out of control. The average cost to rent a two bedroom apartment or house in Redfern has jumped from $350 to a staggering $650 a week in the last ten years.

“Over the past months I have been speaking with many residents in the inner city and inner west who are really concerned about astronomical rents and ever-increasing insecurity.

“The Greens will introduce legislation into NSW Parliament to protect renters’ rights, including putting an end to ‘no grounds’ evictions and limiting rent increases. We must put in place provisions to protect those most vulnerable from dodgy landlords and housing insecurity.

“If our initiatives had been in place over the last 10 years, average rents would have risen just 38 per cent, not the 77 per cent we’ve actually seen. Greens initiatives would have seen a saving $126 a week for renters in a 2 bedroom house.

“The Greens will work with organisations like Anglicare to advocate and campaign for effective improvements to housing and tenancy legislation in NSW,” Ms Leong said.

Jan Barham, Greens MP and spokesperson on Housing and Homelessness, said:

“Last year the Parliamentary housing inquiry I initiated delivered 41 recommendations to improve social and affordable housing in NSW, which were welcomed by many in the housing and social service sectors as a blueprint to address the housing crisis.

“The Government chose to ignore the inquiry’s recommendations, hiding behind the caretaker provisions to avoid responding when the report had been available for six months. The Government must respond to the inquiry recommendations that were based on detailed evidence from experts in the sector.

“Right now, the Government could support the community housing sector to boost social housing by giving certainty about title transfers. They could implement planning measures to ensure local governments can ensure affordable housing is included in new housing developments.

Ms Barham also called on the NSW Government to lock in key housing partnerships with the federal government and ensure the impacts of federal tax policy on housing affordability are considered.

“The State Government needs to act quickly to commit funding and secure federal commitments to allocate funding for long-term housing programs, including the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness and the National Affordable Housing Agreement.

“The NSW Government must highlight the impact of federal tax policy in driving housing costs to unaffordable levels. They need to push for a federal discussion of reforms to negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount to reduce price pressures and deliver additional housing,” Ms Barham concluded.

Contacts:

  • Jan Barham: 0447 853 891
  • Jenny Leong: 0433 753 376 (Mark Riboldi)

Background:

Greens call for review of whether tax breaks are delivering housing supply

The Greens’ spokesperson on Housing, Tourism and the North Coast, Jan Barham MLC, has called for a review of tax concessions for investment properties and whether they are in fact improving the availability of rental housing stock.

“As a North Coast resident I am concerned at the evidence of 900 homes in both the Byron and Tweed local government areas being used for tourism purposes,” said Ms Barham.

“It is possible that many of these properties are being claimed as investment properties and despite the use being unapproved at this time, there hasn’t been an examination of whether the Federal Government’s negative gearing and capital gains tax provisions are supporting a loss of housing stock and the erosion of community.”

For many years the Byron Shire community has raised concerns about the impact of holiday letting on the availability and affordability of housing in the shire. Recently the Tweed council staff presented a report to alert council to the use of dwellings in that shire for tourism rather than the approved permanent residential use.

“The Land and Environment Court decision in 2013 about a case in Gosford made it very clear that the use for tourism accommodation of approved dwellings in residential areas was prohibited. Now councils have to reconcile this decision with what is happening in each council area.

“The Federal Government’s tax discussion paper, which was released earlier this week, shows that the total tax deductions claimed for investment properties have grown and are now larger than the total rental income earned by Australian property owners.

“If this substantial tax break is being used on the North Coast for commercial gain by turning residential properties into tourist accommodation, it is actually working against the desired outcome of providing more rental housing stock.

“Some form of review and regulation is needed to ensure that generous bonus to property investors delivers some form of social benefit,” Ms Barham concluded.

For further comment, contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891