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Affordable housing initiatives miss the mark

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 8 Apr 2008

Current Federal initiatives to address housing affordability are unlikely to make a difference for those most in need, and may act to increase pressure on the housing market, according to Greens housing spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

"These initiatives simply don't go far enough," said Senator Siewert, at the Senate Affordable Housing inquiry in Perth today.

"We need to be looking at new types of tenure arrangements and reviewing current taxation measures if we really want to turn around this housing affordability crisis."

"We need measures that address the shortage of supply of affordable housing for both rental and purchase without further heating up the housing market," she said.

The last decade has seen a lack of investment in public housing together with taxation measures that favour investment at the high end of the rental market. This has contributed to a situation in which increasing numbers of younger working families are struggling to keep up with the rent and could be permanently locked out of the housing market.

"A serious rethink of our approach to affordable housing is needed," said Senator Siewert

"It is clear that both State and Federal governments will have to invest more in community and public housing and look at modernising tenure arrangements to provide a range of more secure tenure types."

"There are some exciting developments with new tenure types in the US, UK and Sweden - which use shared equity models and restricted deeds to ensure that there is an ongoing pool of affordable housing," she said.

"These models offer a more cost effective way for Australian governments to provide affordable housing in perpetuity, by simply putting in place the right rules and incentives," she concluded.

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