Comment on housing and homelessness Budget measures announced today

8 May 2021

ACOSS welcomes the announcement of guaranteed equal pay funding for homelessness services.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “ACOSS warmly welcomes this funding commitment for homelessness services. It was needed to secure over 500 jobs, overwhelmingly for women, in the homelessness sector.

“We know right now we have a housing crisis, with income support cuts and eviction moratoriums ending, making homelessness services all the more important. That’s why it’s so crucial that the Government has delivered this security of funding for these critical homelessness services for the next two years.

ACOSS member, Homelessness Australia Chair Jenny Smith, said, “We’re pleased to see that the Federal Government has continued funding that was at risk of being scrapped.

“The sector can now get on with the job of supporting people without a home, or at risk of homelessness, without the additional worry of having to cut programs or reduce service capacity,” said Ms Smith.

On the announcement of the establishment of the Family Home Guarantee – which will provide single parents an avenue to purchase a home with a deposit of as little as two percent – ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“We are one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet one in three single parents, overwhelmingly women, live in poverty. This measure will do nothing to help these women and their children, as they struggle to get by day to day, just trying to keep any kind of roof over head.

“This new scheme will help a handful of middle-income single parents trying to get into Australia’s hugely expensive housing market, which is good news for these families.

“In looking at the detail, the scheme will cost the Government just $300,000 over the forward estimates because the risk of defaulting amongst single parents, overwhelming women, is so low. We know just how diligent these families work to make ends meet. So for the Government, this specific measure is cheap as chips. At the same time the Government appears determined to lock in billions of dollars worth of tax cuts which mostly benefit people on higher incomes, who are mostly men.

“On the day before Mothers’ Day today, single mothers on low incomes will be waiting to see whether the Budget will deliver for them. For these families we need to see significant investment in social and affordable housing, and increases to income support so that everyone can have a safe home.

ACOSS member, National Council for Single Mothers and their Children CEO Terese Edwards said: “This measure will make a profound difference for a certain group of women and their children, and we welcome an acknowledgment of the housing stress that is experienced by too many women. It keeps them awake at night. It is particularly bleak for single mother families and older women.

“Let’s turn housing stress into housing security and let’s keep the conversation alive,” said Ms Edwards.

On the announcement of the expansion of the New Home Guarantee that will extend the scheme for a further year, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “The sting in the tail of the present recovery is a hike in home prices which will flow on to rents. People on low and modest incomes already can’t afford secure housing.

“Tax breaks like negative gearing and subsidies like Home Builder are conspiring to lift these prices further. The policy announced today will rescue some from this tide of price rises, but for a recovery that benefits all, not just the wealthy, housing tax breaks must go, and more social housing must be built for those on the lowest incomes,” said Dr Goldie.

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