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Overcrowding jumps by one third as housing crisis demands action

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 13 May 2013

An increase of almost one third in the number of Australians living in severely overcrowded housing shows the old parties aren't delivering affordable housing, the Australian Greens said today.

Greens housing spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the 31 per cent rise in severe overcrowding reinforced the need for a comprehensive series of housing reforms.*

"The so-called housing boom has delivered a boom in overcrowding and in homelessness. Most people can remember a time when the average house cost three times the average annual salary - can anyone buy a place to live for less than $200,000 today?

"Clearly the major parties have no answers. On their watch the cost of housing has spiralled out of control over the past fifteen years. We need new solutions.

"There are tens of thousands of empty properties across Australia owned by speculators and others who keep them off the market despite massive demand. The Greens' Convert To Rent program would offer grants to owners to make those properties fit for accommodation and available at 75 per cent of the market rent.

"Through urban planning reform we can deliver more housing in infill development instead of expensive and time-consuming urban sprawl. ‘Transforming Perth', a report produced by The Greens, Property Council and Australian Urban Design Research Centre, shows that 250,000 new homes could be built within metropolitan Perth through mixed-density development - what could be achieved in other cities and major towns?

"We need the Federal Government to fund a full second stage of the National Rental Affordability Scheme. NRAS was launched in July 2008 and provided $1 billion of incentives over four years for 50,000 affordable rentals. A further 50,000 incentives were promised from 2012. It's time to hold the Canberra to the promise to deliver 50,000 more affordable places to live.

"The overcrowding crisis is particularly severe amongst Indigenous people and newly arrived migrants.  The lack of affordable housing is exacerbating and entrenching disadvantage - making our society less equal and less fair. We must do better than this and we can do better than this."

Convert To Rent - http://greens.org.au/files/Convert_to_rent.pdf

Transforming Perth - http://greenswa.net.au/sites/default/files/transformingperth.pdf

Statement by Senator Rachel Siewert on overcrowding in Indigenous housing - http://greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/housing-report-shows-more...

*ABS figures released today.

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