Shelter WA has welcomed the announcement from the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, that the Commonwealth Government will establish a working group to investigate innovative ways to improve the supply and quality of affordable housing in Australia. Chantal Roberts, Executive Officer of Shelter WA stated that “Shelter WA looks forward to working with the sector to maximise input into proposals from the Western Australian community through the public consultation process.”
The announcement recognises that Australia’s affordable housing shortage is too big to be tackled purely by market forces or by a single level of government.
The inclusion of the Western Australian Government on the working group is significant as it ensures the state’s unique challenges will be considered nationally and WA can be part of driving solutions.
Ms Roberts, stated: “Western Australia is the only state with an integrated Affordable Housing Strategy, which includes a capacity to fund new social and affordable housing investment through land development. However, current approaches are a long way from being able to meet demand, with almost half of all low to moderate income earners in WA, or more than 64,500 rental households, experiencing housing stress.”
“The availability of affordable housing can be improved through market incentives such as affordable rental construction subsidies, statutory changes to allow institutional investment in rental housing, and linking tax incentives such as negative gearing to affordable housing outcomes.
The Commonwealth Government has advised that the Terms of Reference for the working group and an Issues Paper will be released before the end of January, along with a call for proposals from interested parties. Chantal Roberts said “this is a welcome move, and it would also be highly beneficial for National Shelter, the national social and affordable housing peak body, to be part of that working group.”