A Helping Hand for Privatisation and the Rich: Federal Budget Allocates Nothing for a National Housing Policy.

Image Credit: Sam Wallman (@wallmansam)

For Immediate Release: Wednesday 12th 2021

Although treasurer Frydenberg claimed that the federal government’s latest budget was not a pivot to austerity, once again the federal government has ignored those most in need.

Frydenberg acknowledged that this budget is similar to one that would be delivered in a depression, but there is a glaring lack of policy that meaningfully addresses Australia’s housing crisis. Despite the rhetoric about reward for effort, personal responsibility, and a helping hand for those who need it, once again the federal government are silent on a national housing policy. The funding for women’s safety, domestic violence and homelessness services pales in comparison to tax breaks and kick-backs to those already doing well.

RAHU continues to demand the Federal & State Governments:

  • Improve and Expand Public Housing 
  • End the private sector rort 
  • Cancel COVID19 Rental Debt

No National Public Housing Policy 

As part of essential services, Sen. Ruston announced the $56.7m of homelessness funding will remain after previously threatening funding would be scrapped. Yet no mention of funding into public housing has been made.

A housing policy that increases public housing stock and reduces the waitlist to zero by 2024 is a foundational preventative measure in a health-based response. 

Promises on Women’s Safety Without a Home to be Safe In

In a country where women are murdered once every week by intimate partners, the threat to women’s security is more likely at home. The government’s $1.1bn investment in family violence pales in comparison to $1.9bn for national security and $270bn for defence. It doesn’t stack up.
Yet the Federal government remains silent on a commitment to national investment in public housing to address the shortage of homes for women escaping violence.
Keeping women safe requires secure, adequate public and emergency housing for everyone. 

Relying on Market & Private Incentives

This budget announced further incentives for first home buyers yet furthers the exceedingly steep increase in housing unaffordability. 

The treasurer claimed that “regional Australia is never taken for granted”, yet regional renters are being driven out of their homes with up to 25% rent increases in the last quarter

This Federal budget clearly demonstrates a choice to prioritise a profit driven market that serves the few, and furthers a broken housing system. 

Home Builder, the New Home Guarantee and the Family Home Guarantee might sound good for the few that are able to take advantage of these schemes. The detail reveals that this is an emaciated housing policy, and those most in need have missed out once again.

Quotes attributable to: Eirene Tsolidis Noyce, Secretary, RAHU 

This budget is sleight of hand once again. Morrison’s threats to cut homelessness funding only to repackage it to include public housing is an abhorrent joke. Homelessness support workers deserve more than the legal wage, and the 1 in 3 renters in Australia deserve more than a negligent government pushing more of us into homelessness. 

Our members will continue to demand for the Federal Government to commit to public housing investment. The longer we are forgotten, the more we will fight back for stable homes for all renters.

This Government says they can guarantee the essential services we all rely on yet ignore their responsibility to deliver a budget that includes a third of Australia’s population who rent. A national housing policy can only truly address the heart of this issue, ensuring we all have a place to call home.

If Frydenberg truly agrees we’re experiencing a depression not seen since the Great Depression, this Government would address the urgent need for a housing policy for all. Australia hasn’t had a national housing policy since 1945. If there ever was a time to have one, it’s now. 

As Frydenburg announced, the pandemic isn’t over. Last year’s crisis demonstrated the importance of public safety nets and the security of a stable home. Yet this Federal Government has made it clear they intend to further entrench precarity in their policy of furthering privatisation.

J.R. Hewitt
Media and Communications Officer
Contact: [email protected]

The Renters And Housing Union (RAHU) is Australia’s largest member-run Union of renters and people in precarious housing. We collectively organise for the right to safe and secure housing through self-advocacy, education, and frontline eviction defence.  

Find out more and join RAHU https://rahu.org.au/

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