Sunday, July 03, 2022

Category: In The Media

NDIS Participants Unable to Access House Cleaning Services

A recent news article in Fairfax newspapers discussed a nationwide shortage of domestic cleaners due to the coronavirus pandemic. The labour shortage is indirectly impacting busy families who employ cleaners to help with domestic chores; and, more significantly, is causing genuine hardship for “vulnerable people who have funding for NDIS cleaning services, aged care or workers compensation packages.”

The article contains interviews with house cleaning business owners who have struggled to find staff. The recruitment problem is partly due to low wages, but also due to labour shortages caused by border closures — a lot of cleaning staff have traditionally been international students or backpackers on working holiday visas, however those people have not been allowed to enter Australia during the pandemic.

A reader’s comment on the article also suggests that outdoor home services like mowing and gardening have had trouble with staff shortages. However, a quick search online finds that there are other businesses providing services such as NDIS gutter cleaning services and residential window cleaning that do not appear to be impacted.

A government spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs who was interviewed in the article said that the department is “clearing the backlog in applications” from international students and backpackers to enter the country. But that statement sounds like hot air for the businesses experiencing staff shortages, and for the NDIS participants who are suffering because they cannot access important cleaning services.  Does anyone seriously think that international students and backpackers who have been locked out of Australia for 2 years are going to take up low-paid cleaning jobs as soon as they are allowed to enter the country? Or are they more likely to do what they are entering the country to do, i.e. start studying or go backpacking?

Let’s hope that all NDIS participants across Australia are able to access affordable and reliable cleaning services again soon.

Labour shortages are impacting NDIS participants in need of house cleaning services

 

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.

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.

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.”

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.

My work-life boundary is totally eviscerated—but it’s also what’s kept me sane

Zoom call. Zoom call. Zoom call. Bathroom break. Bite to eat. Zoom call. Teams call. Then it’s a dash of real work, then open the door to my office for a breath of air. From there, it’s time to prepare for the next round of chaos: Two energetic toddlers, an equally tired-out wife, and an attention-seeking small dog. After preparing dinner, it’s a whirlwind two-hour rodeo of baths, books, and bedtime wrangling.

Of course, I’m unrealistically compartmentalizing what working from home during the pandemic is really like. But this is a reasonable enough approximation.