Last year’s affordable housing green shoots have withered

Budget 2018 fails the 1.5 million Australian households living in unaffordable rental housing or officially homeless, despite the urgent need for Commonwealth leadership on affordable housing policy.

On Budget night 2017 Treasurer Morrison announced a ‘comprehensive plan to address housing affordability’. In last week’s budget he said next to nothing. The 2018 package does nothing to build on last year’s small but positive steps, and fails the 1.5 million Australian households living in unaffordable rental housing or officially homeless.

The case for Commonwealth leadership on affordable housing policy is no less urgent. Last month Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot showed that a person on Newstart could afford just three properties (not three per cent – just three properties) advertised to let across the whole of Australia. Now so low that even John Howard would raise it, Newstart, along with similarly inadequately indexed Rent Assistance, barely keeps recipients in the low end of the rental market, where properties have become scarcer and less cheap for moderate income working households too.

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