They won’t buy us with crumbs as the rich get richer – RAHU denounces short-sighted Federal Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

30.03.2022

With 90% of our members experiencing anxiety over finding money to pay rent well before the recent cost of living increases, this ‘relief package’ is patronising and disastrously short-sighted.

The Government has claimed to address spiralling costs of living with tax cuts – to a maximum of $675 for the entire year for Australia’s lowest earners. This amount will not cover more than 11 days’ rent, calculated as an average of rental unit prices in Australia’s capital cities. The promise of a one-off $250 payment for people receiving welfare payments will not cover even a single weeks’ rent in Adelaide, where average rental unit prices are cheapest of any capital in the country.

The Treasurer says that this budget is realistic about the threats faced by Australians, and promises that increased national security spending will mitigate those threats. Our communities live under the threat of poverty and homelessness, not military intervention, and the Coalition’s fearmongering and wargaming only exacerbate those threats. If Mr Frydenburg is concerned with making our communities safer, the $575 billion he has earmarked for military spending must be redirected to fund public housing immediately.

Instead, $2bn will be directed to the National Housing Finance and Investment Corp (NFHIC), a newly established Corporation headed by real estate and property developers. This will aim to fund large-scale landlordism in private property development and home ownership, with no mention of investment into public housing models. The prioritisation of first home buyers funding along with its tax exemptions, will again lead to rising inflation. This continues to directly affect housing affordability for renters and rough sleepers. Renters will as usual wear the cost of economic inflation that this Government is so fixated on continuing.

The Government claims that their budget supports women’s economic security by implementing policies to support women in the workforce, when in fact women and their children are increasingly affected by homelessness due to domestic violence. For as long as the Morrison Government refuses to give direct policy and significant funding towards public housing, women will continue to experience economic hardship and homelessness.

This budget does not signal a new chapter in Australia’s economic history, the truth is that Treasurer Frydenburg has recycled the same policy points that the Coalition has relied on for decades. This budget completely ignores renters and insecurely housed people and in doing so reveals Frydenburg’s contempt for our communities. It belongs in the dustbin of history.

RAHU affirms the need for a Federal Government to: 

  • Invest in improving and expanding Public Housing 
  • Develop a national policy to increase Rental Protections 
  • Regulate the rental market and real estate industry 

The Renters and Housing Union organises collectively to protect renters and people in insecure housing throughout Australia. Our members don’t wait for government support: they act in solidarity with their neighbours to nurture strong communities. This farcical budget has reminded us why our members’ work is essential.

Quotes attributable to Eirene Tsolidis Noyce, RAHU Secretary: 

This Budget is a last desperate attempt by the Morrison Government to shortsightedly throw crumbs at us in the hopes of retaining power, and continue filling their big business friends pockets.

As renters we know that $420 won’t cover a week’s rent, let alone make a dent for the millions of us who are being wrenched out of a stable home. 

We know we cannot afford to live with this government for another term, and reaffirm the need for serious investment into public housing, and a commitment to redressing and regulating the dangerous and exploitative property market that will see affordable and accessible homes for renters across Australia. 

Quotes attributable to Ellise Bourne, RAHU Media & Communications Officer:

This one-off payment ‘incentive’ is not a feasible scheme to ease the cost of living, it is a crude bribe to earn votes in the next Federal Election.

As renters we know the tax offsets offered to homeowners and small business owners won’t ‘trickle down’ to renters and workers as this government claims it will. 

The government has made no mention of funding or policy for public housing in this budget whatsoever. Our communities urgently need public housing.

Media contact: Ellise Bourne 0468 474 526 or email [email protected] 

The Renters And Housing Union (VIC) is a member-run Union of renters and people in precarious housing, formed out of the rent strike as a response to the COVID19 crisis. 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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