Productivity Commission not going far enough on housing, ACOSS says

The Productivity Commission has labelled Australia’s social housing system as “broken, unfair and failing those in need” – but it still doesn’t go far enough in addressing the issues at hand, the Australian Council of Social Service warns.

The draft report into Australia’s social housing policy recommended the government move to a single model of housing assistance across both the social and private housing markets, with increases in rent assistance to help transition people into private rentals, as well as additional housing payments for those who have a demonstrable need, such as employment, to live in a high cost area.

Productivity Commissioner Stephen King said increasing rental assistance by 15 per cent would help vulnerable Australians catch up with rental prices, helping to relieve the burden on social housing.

But CEO of ACOSS, Dr Casssndra Goldie said the draft report ignored expert advice that for the housing affordability crisis to be adequately tackled, there was an urgent need to expand social housing and the recommendations did not go far enough.

“To move to a housing system where everyone including people on the very lowest incomes is competing in the open rental market would be a dangerous move,” she said.

“The proposed 15% increase in [rental assistance] would go nowhere near what would be needed to ensure people have adequate income to compete, hence our recommendation for a minimum 30%, plus a serious increase in funding towards social and affordable housing.”