Shelter WA's Federal Budget Response

Shelter WA is disappointed not to see a single new major announcement regarding affordable housing or combating chronic homelessness, the need for more affordable and secure homes in our nation continues.

On Tuesday 8 May 2018, the Federal Government released its budget for 2018/19, outlining the economic and fiscal strategy for Australia over the next four years.

In its 2017 election policy platform, the Liberal Party made commitments to ensure all citizens have access to affordable and secure home ownership.

“There has been complete silence on affordable housing and homelessness. Despite gaining unanticipated revenue, the Government has not delivered the much-needed investment in social and affordable housing to help Australian’s most in need,” Shelter WA CEO Michelle Mackenzie said.

“The ABS data evidently demonstrates the nation’s unaffordable housing and rising homelessness issue. The last budget gave some attention to this, yet this year there is essentially nothing.”

Shelter WA does welcome the Government’s strong investments into infrastructure. However, Ms Mackenzie outlined “This budget does not consider affordable housing as vital infrastructure in building a 21st century economy and society. It’s a failure to future generations.”

“There must be an acknowledgement by the Government that they have levers available to increase affordable housing supply and need to use them.”

Additional bad news for Western Australia is there is no further investment in WA housing to remote communities; this is despite the Commonwealth’s own review recommending the need for a continued investment. Some good news is greater funding for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) to improve homelessness and housing data.

What could have been included in the Federal Budget for housing:

  • Investment into social and affordable housing supply, creating new incentives enabling community housing providers and the private sector to do more.
  • Increased Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
  • Appropriate investment for all States in need of remote housing.
  • Broader tax reform in removing capital gains tax exemptions and limiting negative gearing.
  • Raising the Newstart and Youth Allowance to ensure people have adequate income to meet their housing and cost of living expenses.
  • Build-to-Rent initiatives.

“Too many Western Australian people don’t have a safe and affordable place to live. It is a basic human right. Thousands of people are already on the waiting list for social housing, and private rentals remain unaffordable for people on lower incomes.”

Shelter WA is calling a long-term national strategy and investment to put an end to the housing and homelessness crisis.

Media Contact: Michelle Mackenzie, CEO: (08) 9325 6660 or 0419 931 819