Sunday, May 26, 2024

LGAQ calls for united front on housing crisis

Quadrupling social housing funding, extending the First Home Owners’ Grant and unlocking abandoned, unused and empty properties are ways to begin conquering Queensland’s housing crisis, says the Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).

LGAQ CEO, Alison Smith says the peak body had “pleaded” with both levels of government to act on the Association’s six-point action plan to end the shortages plaguing communities and families across the state.

“Every Queensland community deserves to be a liveable one and every Queenslander deserves the security of affordable and secure housing,” Ms Smith said.

“The work State has been undertaking with councils to progress local housing action plans alongside its record $2.9 billion funding spend has been much welcomed by the LGAQ and our member councils.

 “It is clear, however, that more needs to be done.”

Ms Smith said long-standing housing shortages along with growth and affordability challenges had impacted communities over the last decade. 

“More recently, unprecedented low interest rates, sharply rising property prices, supply chain issues, significant labour shortage issues and scarcity of trades, have worsened the housing crisis and been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and recent severe storms and floods,” she said.

“The impact of this perfect housing storm on our State is resulting in a range of social challenges for individuals, families and local communities statewide including increased homelessness, mental health pressures, drug and alcohol abuse and crime rates. 

“In some of our most vulnerable First Nations communities, overcrowding resulting from a shortage of housing has become a human rights issue and has escalated COVID-19 outbreaks during the pandemic.”

In May, the LGAQ and 12 other peak bodies and major organisations united to call for a National Housing Summit.

Ms Smith said a National Housing Summit would allow all three levels of government and industry to unite in addressing the complex issue and working towards a solution in a strategic, coordinated and considered way.

The LGAQ’s six-point action plan:

  1. Convene a National Housing Summit and prepare a new national housing strategy in partnership with all levels of government as well as industry and community groups;
  2. Quadruple capital investment in social housing in Queensland by allocating a further $4.8 billion over four years to increase social housing supply in areas of need;
  3. Extend the First Home Owners’ Grant to be available for the purchase of any new dwelling, any existing dwelling and for the renovation and refurbishment of existing housing stock;
  4. Unlock abandoned, unused and empty properties in Queensland to increase existing housing supply;
  5. Commit to Closing the Gap and reduce overcrowding in remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by allocating $100 million per year for five years to increase housing supply;
  6. Invest $200 million over four years to assist councils to develop and implement innovative housing partnerships. 

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