Hello. Russell Broadbent here, Member for Monash.
It’s not often the Liberals agree with the Greens and Paul Keating. But on Labor’s social housing policy, we do.
Keating once said ‘good policy was good politics’. Therefore, I say bad policy is bad politics.
The Labor government’s new Housing Australia Future Fund is bad policy, and here’s why:
The proposal is to borrow 10 billion dollars ‘off Budget’ – in other words, a way to avoid showing the borrowings – which would be loaned at the current high interest rate – as government debt.
The government would then invest the funds, claiming that they will make $500 million per year to invest in social housing. The government claims this will pay for 30,000 social and affordable houses over five years - but there are currently 163,000 Australians on the social housing waiting list!
This plan is totally inadequate on multiple fronts:
Firstly, it will take a year for the funds to be invested.
Then, it will take another year for the first dividends to be paid.
And lastly, with the usual delays that come with government programs, how many of these houses are going to be delivered by the end of the five years? I doubt any.
For years I have advocated for local government to have an opportunity to invest in community housing.
Just as the State Government of old allocated public housing across the regions and country towns when given a quota. A fair share for country areas.
This would reduce the number of homelessness among women over 50 in the regions - the largest increasing homeless cohort across the nation.
I still believe this is the way to go, and there are examples of this in Victoria.
And that’s just as I see it.
Reference: Judith Sloane - Bad policy ideas on housing and scripts come back to bite. The Australian, 27 June 2023 page 11.