Affordable Housing

The cost of buying or renting is too high. It has become far too hard for first home buyers and renters to find quality housing near where they work, play and take their kids to school. This means long commutes, less time and higher transport costs.

More and more Australian households are paying more than they can afford on either rent or a mortgage. On any given night 105,000 Australians are homeless – up 17% since 2006.  It’s only going to get worse if we don’t change our system.

The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. Affordable housing is a human right.
  2. Access to secure, appropriate, affordable housing is a crucial determinant of health and well-being and is an important precondition for social participation and gaining access to other social services.
  3. The housing needs of low income Australians should be met through the provision of a mix of affordable options, including community housing, community land trusts, public housing, shared equity with social housing providers and private rental housing.
  4. Governments should provide sufficient public and community housing to meet current need and projected demand.
  5. New urban developments should be environmentally sound, close to employment and public transport, and should facilitate community interaction.
  6. Residents should have ready access to natural open spaces.
  7. Public participation in the planning, assessment and development of public and community housing is a right, the exercise of which should be encouraged by planning authorities.
  8. The housing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be met as a matter of urgency.
  9. All housing development should be based on principles of sustainable design and urban planning.
  10. Governments should support innovation and emerging industries in new construction methods, including sustainable fast-build modular housing.
  11. Innovation is needed in finance models to stimulate the supply of affordable housing.
  12. Existing subsidies and incentives for property investment should be reviewed with a view to guaranteeing housing affordability and affordable housing supply across all tenure types.

Our National Housing Roadmap

The Greens are actively campaigning for phasing out the over-generous negative gearing and capital gains tax discount arrangements. Negative gearing overwhelmingly benefits wealthy investors, and drives up prices for everyone. The Greens want to reform negative gearing to make it easier for first home buyers to get into the market. We’ll reinvest revenue generated from ending negative gearing and into construction of quality affordable housing instead.

  • Reforming Negative Gearing – our proposal that negative gearing for future investments would end, with existing investments grandfathered. This would stop billions of dollars each year being used to unfairly subsidise property investors at the expense of housing affordability. Our plan to phase out Negative gearing would increase the revenue available to address the housing needs of all Australians, and would generate over $42 billion over ten years.
  • Capital Gains Tax Discount Reform  – the current 50% discount on income earnt from investments should be removed to stop the structural unfairness in the tax system and benefits the wealthiest Australians. It would generate as much as $74 billion over the next decade, or $127 billion when combined with negative gearing reform.
  • Funding homelessness services – we are committed to doubling the federal funding for homelessness services at a cost of $507 million a year, and to signing a new ten year National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (at a cost of $320 million a year), to provide ongoing security for this vital sector.

A new deal for renters – introducing a national standard 

Our rental market is broken and it’s time to take urgent action to improve the conditions for 2.4 million Australian households living in rental housing. The Greens are the only party standing up for renters and for a better, fairer housing system.

The Greens have a vision for a rental market that treats renters fairly, where strong, basic standards are met and long term or lifetime renters have better security of tenure in their home.

Recent media releases:

Read more about Australian Greens aims and plans in relation to housing here and the NSW Greens policies here.

Below are some links to independent publications which cover various aspects of housing affordability.  The Greens do not necessarily endorse the content of these publications but we provide them as interesting background.

Rental affordability snapshot 2016 Greater Sydney & Illawarra – Anglicare April 2016

Anglicare Australia’s member agencies conducted the annual Rental Affordability Snapshot over a weekend in April 2016, with the aim of highlighting the difficulty in finding affordable and appropriate rental properties for low income households. The findings revealed that for households reliant on income support payments, finding appropriate and affordable housing is almost impossible.

Anglicare considers there are five key policy areas to improve housing affordability for low income households, which requires commitment from key stakeholders:

  • increased social housing stock;
  • a stated Government commitment to affordable housing;
  • improvements to income support rates and indexing;
  • improved relationships within the sector in responding to affordable housing; and
  • review of housing taxes and concessions.

Hot property: Negative gearing and capital gains tax reform April 2016

The Grattan Institute

Overview:  A substantial change to Australia’s tax arrangements is long overdue. The interaction of a fifty per cent capital gains tax (CGT) discount with negative gearing distorts investment decisions, makes housing markets more volatile and reduces home ownership.  Like most tax concessions, these tax breaks largely benefit the wealthy.

CGT main residence exemption January 2016

Why removing the tax concession for homes over $2 million is good for the budget, the economy and fairness

The Australia Institute

Summary: The largest tax concession in Australia is the capital gains tax (CGT) exemption for the main residence. Last year it cost the budget $46 billion and is predicted to cost the budget $189 billion over the next four years. Each year the cost of the CGT exemption on for the main residence costs the federal budget more than Defence, Education or Medicare.

Speculative Vacancies Report  – the empty properties ignored by statistics December 2015

Prosper Australia describes itself as a research-based organisation in Melbourne seeking to advance economic efficiency and social justice through tax reform and education. It has recently released a report indicating that over 80,000 residential properties appeared to be vacant in 2014. The report demonstrates how Government housing, tax and supply policies have allowed widespread residential and commercial vacancies in Melbourne and recommends fundamental reform.

There are numerous articles in publications such as The Conversation and The Guardian relating to housing affordability. Here are just a few that raise different aspects.

Rental affordability: owning a home is a fantasy if you can’t afford to rent one  21 April 2016

Without changes in the tax regime, more rental properties, and an increase in incomes relative to prices, the daily struggle for our poorest will continue.

Turnbull should help the states switch stamp duty for land tax 20 April 2016

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) argues  that before the government considers company or personal income tax cuts, it should help the states replace property stamp duties with a broad based land tax.

Scrap or preserve negative gearing? Here’s six other options worth debating 26 February 2016

Is there a middle option between retention and abolition of negative gearing that would make it work? Negative gearing is estimated to be worth about $8 billion a year in tax concessions. Six models to better use that money are discussed.


Posted May 2016