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Australia’s social housing policy needs stronger leadership and an investment overhaul

Julie Lawson and colleagues write in The Conversation (26.6.19) about the findings of a new AHURI report on social housing policy, indicating that the federal and state governments need to build thousands more social housing units in the next 20 years.

'Australia will need another 730,000 social housing dwellings in 20 years if it is to tackle homelessness and housing stress among low-income renters. These are the findings of a new report from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), which shows social housing is in urgent need of direct public investment.

'Instead of directly investing in social housing, the federal government has sought to establish investment opportunities for other actors, such as pension funds and private corporations.

'The vehicle for this investment is the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC), which was established to offer lower cost finance to social housing providers.

'The federal government has also encouraged states and territories to focus public resources on supply, land policy reform and the use of planning methods such as inclusionary zoning to deliver affordable and social housing.

'These initiatives are worthy, but they won’t generate enough new social housing supply on their own. Without direct public investment in the form of a needs-based capital investment program, the government is unlikely to fill the social housing gap.'

 

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