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Housing crisis: Greens name the elephant in the budget

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 15 May 2013

"The Government's failure to acknowledge the national housing crisis shows the Labor party has turned its back on millions of Australians struggling with unaffordable housing," Australian Greens housing spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

"This Budget has no new programmes for improving housing affordability. No new money to tackle homelessness. No boost in public housing. No plans for more affordable rentals or more affordable ownership. No mention of the word housing in the Budget speech. Labor and the Coalition are pretending this crisis doesn't exist.

"If Labor wants a ‘stronger, fairer, smarter' country - they needed a national housing plan in this Budget. Instead we got a policy abyss.

"As Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised to halve homelessness by 2020. Since then, homelessness has risen. Instead of seeing this as a sign we must do things differently, the Government delivered not one cent more for housing or support services. Tony Abbott can't be trusted either; he won't commit to halving homelessness by 2020.

"When the National Rental Affordability Scheme was introduced, the Minister promised a second round if the scheme was successful - which it was. So where is the next round?

"Today we have a national supply gap of more than half a million affordable and available rentals but Labor refuses to embrace the Greens' Convert To Rent programme, which for a tiny cost would turn vacant properties into affordable rental homes.

"For a budget supposedly focused on innovation and jobs the silence on housing is shocking. Where's the innovative thinking on housing? Where is the innovation of more housing through urban planning reform? Where is the support for new jobs in the construction sector? Housing construction is at a two decade low, hundreds of thousands of Australians are on the public housing queue, and the Government's response is...nothing.

"The Greens will put housing at the forefront of this election campaign so this dismal bipartisan silence is not repeated in the next budget."


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