Queensland must build at least 53,000 new social and affordable homes over the next decade to meet the needs of vulnerable and low-income households, the state’s property developers and social service organisations say.
Launching a joint position paper, the Property Council of Australia together with the Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS) have called upon major parties to commit to delivering 15,000 new social housing dwellings and 38,000 new dwellings which are affordable to those on low incomes over the next ten years.
This equates to roughly ten percent of the total number of dwellings which the Queensland Government’s Housing Strategy estimates will be required to accommodate population growth over the next decade.
According to the paper, eleven strategies are needed across five areas which involve expanding the South-East Queensland Housing Supply Expert Panel, making better use of government resources, reforming regulations, providing incentives for affordable housing provision and increasing choice for renters.
- Committing to a delivery target of 15,000 social housing dwellings and 38,000 affordable housing dwellings over the next ten years
- Unlocking government land for social and affordable housing
- Using land held for future infrastructure requirements for crisis accommodation
- Transferring the management of underutilised social housing stock to non-government organisations
- Supporting non-government social housing providers through measures such as tax incentives for finance providers
- Streamlining the planning system
- Consolidating local housing codes into a single state housing code
- Expanding the shared equity for affordable housing scheme to eligible social housing applicants
- Reducing the impact of taxes on new housing delivery – especially by progressively rolling back stamp duty
- Incentives paid to local governments to support the delivery of desirable forms of housing
- Establishing a build-to-rent scheme
- Subsidies (such as NRAS) to enable investors to charge sub-market rates of rent to low income earners.
The call comes as Queensland gears up for its state election on November 25.
Amongst major parties, policies surrounding affordable housing have been conspicuously absent thus far.
The main party which has made statements on affordable housing (The Greens) have made some extravagant promises which have unnerved the property sector.
These include building a whopping one million affordable homes over the next twenty-five years and taxing property developers 75 percent of the value of the uplift in land values associated with rezoning decisions.
The Greens also want to introduce a five percent ‘vacancy tax’ on properties which are intentionally left vacant for six months or more.
In a statement, QCOSS chief executive officer Mark Henley said almost half (47.6 percent) of all low-income households throughout Queensland were in a state of housing stress and were being forced to spend more than 30 percent of their income to afford the average rental property.
“Housing is a core human right and is critical to the social and economic participation of all members of our community,” Henley said.
“It is critical that the State take action to improve the affordability and accessibility of housing in Queensland.”
“Setting a target to deliver 3,800 new affordable dwellings, and 1,500 new social housing dwellings every year for a decade is a necessary first step for policy makers to make a meaningful impact on this problem.”
Property Council Queensland Executive Director Chris Mountford says a multi-pronged strategy was needed to address housing affordability.
“There’s no silver bullet to the complex issue of housing affordability, which means it is often put in the government too-hard basket,” Mountford said.
“Ultimately the solution lies in basic economics, we need to match supply with increasing demand for housing.”
“The suite of policies we are proposing are all designed to aid supply of new dwellings, not just to first home buyers, but across the housing continuum, offering greater access to all Queenslanders.”
“We are calling on all political parties to adopt the measures contained in our joint position paper to ensure we can provide for households on low and moderate incomes, without blowing their budgets.”