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Community disillusioned as Federal Parliament launches Housing Inquiry


Calls to save the Waterloo South housing estate have been renewed. Photo: Daniel Lo Surdo.


Federal Parliament launched a new Inquiry to housing affordability and supply in Australia this month.

The Inquiry was announced by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue Chair and Member for Mackellar Jason Falinski after data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Treasury and the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed home ownership to be falling for the past 30 years.

Serving the people 

Mr Falinski pointed to the uncompromising ratio of housing prices to household incomes as a key issue plaguing home ownership in Australia.

“Australia’s unusually high level of inelasticity in housing is the major driver of this ratio,” Mr Falinski said. “This has resulted in our country having the fourth-fastest house price growth out of the world’s advanced economies over the past 20 years.”

Submissions from interested individuals and parties are open until 13 September, with many organisations, including National Shelter, having already signalled their intent to file a submission to Federal Parliament.

Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler holds little optimism for the Inquiry.

“We can always hope that [it] will produce recommendations to create a more equitable and inclusive housing market. But if we’re honest we’re not expecting anything substantial to come from the review,” Mr Engeler told City Hub.

“The housing market has moved a long way from what many would say is its inherent and essential purpose – to provide secure, functional and affordable shelter to all people at various stages of their life.”

“It is now distorted by a variety of financial and taxation incentives; driven by quite predictable … commercial and speculative investment motivations.”

Mr Engeler understands that the Federal Inquiry must address the inequities present in the private housing sector.

“The private housing market in this country consistently fails to provide secure, functional and affordable shelter, especially for the lowest forty per cent of income earners,” Mr Engeler said.

“Unless and until the fundamentals of the housing system are changed – moving away from its overhyped, supercharged state back to its original purpose, we say that Governments need to step in to build or acquire housing for people who need it.”

Shelter NSW recently made a submission to the State Government about its planning law reform, after the non-profit previously signalled their support for an Affordable Rental Housing non-market alternative model to capitalise on the value created from development and planning system decisions and to provide public good.

The Inquiry will investigate the impact of tax and regulatory regimes on price, affordability and supply of housing in Australia today as well as in the future. Public hearings for the Inquiry will be held and organised by the Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue.


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