This year’s Audit is significant as it includes social infrastructure along with transport, energy, water and telecommunications.
The national and state peak housing and homelessness organisations have come together to make a joint submission in response to the latest Infrastructure Australia Audit.
The Audit, to help shape the future and the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan invited both feedback and submissions on the Audit. This year’s Audit is significant as it includes social infrastructure along with transport, energy, water and telecommunications.
Supporting the quality of life and wellbeing of our communities
Social Infrastructure is described as “facilities, spaces, services and networks that support the quality of life and wellbeing of our communities. It helps us to be happy, safe and healthy, to learn, and to enjoy life.” Social infrastructure includes social housing.
The four national representative organisations, all of which share a commitment to the provision of housing that is affordable to households on very low to moderate incomes, which Shelter WA joined are:
- National Shelter
- The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA).
- Homelessness Australia (HA).
- PowerHousing Australia
The submission is also supported by the state and territory-based organisations, Shelter NSW, Q Shelter and Shelter WA along with CHIA NSW, CHIA VIC, and Homelessness NSW.
Social and affordable housing improves national productivity
In the joint submission it was noted that the inclusion of social infrastructure is an important step to subsidised housing being understood as essential infrastructure on which both Australia’s social and economic wellbeing depends.
Australian and international evidence shows that the provision of social and affordable housing has a clear potential in materially improving national productivity by addressing problems that otherwise imposes economic, social and/or environmental costs or by realising economic, social and environmental benefits.
The submission makes a compelling case that housing has both social and financial benefits that exceed production costs, and it encourages Infrastructure Australia to recognise housing in the 2021 plan as productive infrastructure in the way transport and other recognised infrastructure components are.
The Priority List needs a review
Also, the submission argues the assessment framework which sets out the process Infrastructure Australia uses to consider initiatives and projects for inclusion on the Infrastructure Priority List needs to be reviewed and updated as it favours more traditional infrastructure.