Thursday, April 25, 2024

Category: News

27 Million Milestone Stirs ‘Population Panic’

There are now 27 million Australians, thanks to the fastest population growth in the country’s recent history.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ population clock hit the milestone on January 24 about 3.30pm.

Australia’s population rose by 624,100 people in the 12 months to June 2023 – a 2.3% increase.

This is faster than the 10-year average of 1.4%.

ANU demographer Liz Allen said some segments of the media are exploiting population growth to sow panic about migration.

“Despite all the population panic going on at the moment, demographers have been well aware of this milestone,” she said.

The federal government’s signature housing policy has passed. This is what it’ll actually do

After more than half a year stuck in the Senate without enough support to become law, the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) has finally passed parliament after Labor struck a deal with the Greens.

While it’s been touted by the government as the biggest-ever investment into affordable housing in Australian history, the policy is a little complicated, as it isn’t a direct injection of funding into housing.

A tsunami of homelessness is about to hit

Rising rents, eight interest rate hikes, surging living costs and natural disasters inflamed what was already among world’s least affordable rental markets Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese has announced.

Belinda has applied for more than 100 rental homes in the past year and been rejected every time.

The 39-year-old Australian single mother of four now lives in a temporary shelter in Campbelltown, southwest of Sydney, and has six months to find a home that costs under 500 Australian dollars a week, or risk ending up sleeping rough.

“I don’t know where I’m supposed to go after that. I have got a house full of furniture that I don’t really want to get rid of. I don’t really want to get rid of my cat or my puppy,” says Belinda. “It is a bit scary to tell you the truth.”

Relentlessly rising rents, eight consecutive interest rate hikes, surging living costs and devastating natural disasters in the past few years have inflamed what was already among the world’s least affordable rental markets.

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

 

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