Thursday, January 20, 2022

Hate Crimes Targeting Sydney’s Indigenous Homeless

On Wednesday 24 March, Michael*, an Indigenous man, was asleep on Eddy Avenue outside of Central Station when he was shaken awake. A friend urgently warned him that known intruders – “Black haters” wearing jackets adorned with swastikas – were on the way. Michael was not fast enough and, less than a kilometre from Surry Hills Police Station, was violently beaten.

Michael was not the only casualty that night. And that night was not the first that Sydney’s homeless were awoken to the reality of White supremacy while the rest of Australia’s eyes remained firmly shut.

Read the full story on Independent Australia website.

*Name has been changed.

Zoned Out: How Land Use Restrictions Divide The Nation

Housing policies ensure continual wealth gains for current home owners while leaving renters and potential buyers locked out of the market.

Housing policy is a battle between the haves and the have-nots. The haves are the current generation of wealthy home owners. They have enjoyed large capital gains over the past few decades and are sitting on property worth hundreds of thousands – often millions – of dollars. They support the policies that have delivered these windfalls.

The have-nots are renters and future generations of potential home owners. These groups are disproportionately young and on lower incomes.

Read the full article on John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations

Australian house rentals smash new records

Australia’s rental market is heating up in a big way, with new data showing rental houses across the nation’s capital cities have witnessed a 3.4 per cent price increase over the final quarter of 2021.

According to Domain’s latest Quarterly Rent Report, this stark rise equates to a new set of record high prices in Australia.

It also means that 2021’s rental housing market witnessed an annual price growth of 7.4 per cent – the biggest yearly increase since 2009.

Accessible housing design to only be used across half of Australia

Thousands of people will be denied choice in where they live as half of Australia’s states choose to opt out of a building code which would impose minimum standards of accessibility on all new house builds.

The silver standard design guidelines from Liveable Housing Australia (LHA) were incorporated into the National Construction Code (NCC) earlier this year to come into effect in September 2022.

The guidelines require a step-free path from the street to the door, wider doorways, hobless showers, reinforced walls in bathrooms to support future installation of rails, and a toilet at entry level.

However, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia have all opted out of the new requirements, meaning the standards will not be enforced in those States.

House prices skyrocket and social housing collapses under the Coalition

The extraordinary prices that houses in Australia are now fetching were unimaginable just six years ago. That was before Scott Morrison became treasurer and, later, prime minister.

The values of most houses in Australia’s big cities and in some smaller cities and regional areas have more than doubled in that time.

This has locked countless first home buyers out of the housing market, probably forever, while multiplying the profits of rich property speculators.

Read Alan Austin’s full report on the Independent Australia website

Affordable housing advocates say Labor abandoned them

‘List of enemies’: Affordable housing advocates say Labor abandoned them

The nation’s peak organisation on affordability and secure housing for Australians on low incomes has accused federal Labor of rejoining a “list of enemies” against increasing home-ownership in favour of benefiting wealthy landlords.

National Shelter, which campaigns to improve housing access for low-income earners, has joined with several social groups to savage the federal opposition’s decision for scrapping key tax policies as it seeks to slimline its policy platform ahead of the next election.

The opposition went to both the 2016 and 2019 elections promising to halve the 50 per cent capital gains tax deduction and limit negative gearing to new properties only, attracting fierce resistance from the government and the property and construction industries.

Read more in the SMH

Anthony Albanese
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/50964933@N08/7139459247/

Australia’s housing crisis: it’s one of the most unaffordable in the world, so how is the Coalition going to fix it?

The Morrison government’s incentives to help people become homeowners may come to nothing without an increase in housing supply

With many Australians locked out of the housing market or staring down the barrel of a 40-year, million-dollar-plus mortgage, the federal government has proposed a raft of policies aimed at addressing housing affordability in Tuesday’s federal budget.

But whether they will help bring ownership within reach of more people is unclear, especially since housing supply and zoning powers lie with the state governments.

The Government Can Build Quality Housing for Everyone

Today, only socialists seem to advocate for high-quality, affordable public housing. In the mid-twentieth century, however, a state government led by South Australia’s Liberal and Country League (LCL) developed one of the world’s most remarkable public housing agencies, the South Australian Housing Trust (SAHT).

The government of South Australia (SA) established the SAHT in 1936. Over the course of its life, it built 122,000 high-quality homes for hundreds of thousands of workers. The SAHT was a product of a different era in the history of capitalism. SA’s need to industrialize, combined with high rates of economic growth, and a strong and organized working class, created the conditions for a pact between industrial capital and the state.

Featured Image from Wikimedia Commons

Runaway Land Prices Undermine Housing Utility

Australia’s runaway land prices are akin to a national emergency. An increase of $4 trillion in just the next five years is highly likely.

While meeting the weekly housing payment is our most essential financial commitment, why isn’t housing affordability the most pressing policy issue?

Land price inflation of $600 billion this year will equate to 30 times the size of total banking profits. But our politicians barely raise a sweat over it. One could joke that the only time we hear of a land price crisis is when a wealthy campaign contributor wants their land rezoned.

Island homes: Tasmania election campaign offers few solutions to state’s housing crisis

Housing stress is at an all-time high in Tasmania, shutting out first-home buyers, squeezing the rental market and increasing homelessness

Before Sue Hickey entered state politics as a Liberal MP in 2018, she was Hobart’s lord mayor. Pledging to clean up public toilets and local politics, she also took a keen interest in the plight of people experiencing homelessness.

“You’d see these faces come out of nowhere,” Hickey says, recalling night tours of the city with food van staff and volunteers.

“You’d arrive, you wouldn’t see them, and then all these people just desperate for a sandwich and a Milo with five sugars would appear.”

Those outings were an eye-opener for Hickey, but for most Tasmanians homelessness and housing insecurity were out of sight, out of mind.

The tiny house movement is booming — so why aren’t more of us actually living in them?

Despite early forecasts of a COVID-driven slump, house prices are now surging in many parts of Australia. This is further widening the gap between the housing “haves” and “have-nots”, and we are seeing related rises in housing stress, rental insecurity and homelessness.

In Australia and elsewhere a movement has emerged that supports tiny house living as an important response to the housing affordability crisis. One of us argued in 2017:

“[Tiny houses] have significant potential to be a catalyst for infill development, either as tiny house villages, or by relaxing planning schemes to allow owners and tenants to situate well-designed tiny houses on suburban lots.”