Vinnies Queensland calls for a united response to the national housing crisis in the upcoming Federal Budget
The upcoming Federal Budget on 29 March must address the ongoing housing crisis or the number of Australian families facing homelessness will continue to rise, according to Vinnies Queensland.
CEO Kevin Mercer said the current lack of affordable and social housing in Queensland and the rest of the country should be considered a national emergency and will require all levels of Government to work together for a solution.
“In Queensland alone, we have more than 50,000 people on the state housing waiting list, rental vacancy rates below 1 per cent across the state and a further estimated 20,000 homes now rendered unliveable after the recent floods,” Mr Mercer said.
“And it’s not just Queensland – all across Australia, rents are soaring to new highs, while housing affordability and affordable housing supply are reaching decade-plus lows.
“While social housing is usually seen as a State issue, we are calling for a united approach to address this serious crisis before it continues to worsen.”
Vinnies Queensland recently joined the Local Government Association of Queensland’s call for an urgent National Housing Summit, along with 10 other state peak bodies.
“We estimate it would cost around $8 billion to supply every person on the social housing waiting list a home – and that’s just for Queensland,” Mr Mercer said.
“It’s a serious crisis that needs a serious investment from all areas of our Government.
“When all across the country, homelessness numbers are on the rise and more and more Australians are struggling just to afford a roof over the head, it goes beyond a state issue – it’s a national crisis.”
Mr Mercer said he also hoped the Federal Budget would include measures to help Australians struggling with the rising cost of living, including a rise to the JobSeeker rate and further support for increasing rent prices.
“We should be significantly boosting national programs around rent support – instead, programs like the National Rental Affordability Scheme are coming to an end,” he said.
“Boosting the rate of JobSeeker to above the poverty line will also go a long way to stop vulnerable Australians struggling just to make ends meet.”
Vinnies Queensland’s asks for the Federal Budget include:
- The development of a National Housing Strategy or Summit to bring all levels of Government together to address the ongoing crisis
- Further support for State Governments to invest in much needed affordable and social housing stock
- Increase the base rate of working age JobSeeker payments from $46 to 67 per day
- Increase the Commonwealth Rent Assistance maximum rate by 50 percent
- Increase the earnings threshold for income support payments from $150 to $300 per fortnight