ACT Greens: Government must act to meet growing housing need

Caroline Le Couteur, MLA

Latest AIHW housing data again reaffirms that more public and community housing stocks are needed to address the Territory’s housing crisis, the ACT Greens said today.

The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report shows that the ACT has the greatest reliance on public housing as part of social housing. It also shows that Canberra has the lowest proportion of community housing of any jurisdiction—housing that provides affordable rental for low income Canberrans.

“This places extra pressure on an already tight housing market—and sees fewer Canberrans on lower incomes able to access social housing,” Ms Le Couteur said.

Onwards from years of Greens advocacy, in line with the Labor-Greens Parliamentary Agreement, targets for affordable, public and community housing are now being set for each year—however, Ms Le Couteur describes these as “grossly inadequate”.

Community housing

Of social housing provided, the ACT has the lowest proportion of community housing in the country, at only 7.4%. This year the Government announced that 20 new community housing dwellings will be set aside as part of a release of 4,120 dwelling sites across Canberra this year – totalling 0.5% community housing of all housing in Canberra. This is not a level that shows that Government is at all committed to ensuring that community housing is part of the housing solution for Canberrans.

“The ACT does not have big community housing providers that other states do. But with only an increase of 20 dwellings a year, we simply aren’t facilitating the private and community sectors to contribute to meet the needs of our community.

“Long-awaited” Housing Strategy must address community housing

“I know there’s no single silver bullet to fix the housing crisis. With a long-awaited Housing Strategy on route, there is an opportunity here for the Government to deliver a long-term vision for housing access in our Territory, especially for community housing solutions—an opportunity that should not be squandered,” Ms Le Couteur said.

In April, the ACT Greens put forward a motion in the Assembly calling for a minimum proportion of social housing to be maintained, and increased supplies of affordable rental housing in the Territory—a motion that ACT Labor did not support.