We can't rely on the market to fix the housing crisis

We can't rely on the market to fix the housing crisis

Socialist Alliance candidates running for the Inner West Council are committed to fighting for, and defending the right of, all residents to decent and affordable housing.

According to the 2016 Census conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 8.1% of private dwellings in the inner west are unoccupied.

“While these properties sit empty, increasing in investment value and allowing for negative gearing tax write-offs, another 30,000 households or 43.6% of all inner west households, are forced to rent at exorbitant market prices”, said Blair Vidakovich who is running in Leichhardt ward for the Inner West Council.

“Sixteen percent of inner west residents report “housing stress”: they pay more than 30% of their household income on rent.

“As it stands, government tax write-offs on investment properties outstrips rental support to low-income renters.”

While home ownership continues to be seen as the Australian “dream”, housing unaffordability is at record high levels. Currently, if a person was to be able to devote their whole income to paying off their home, it would take 12.2 years of total median income to purchase a median property. This is up from the 2013 national average of around 7 year’s total income.

“The reality, of course, is that many people will be struggling to pay off their houses in their life times”, added Susan Price, who is running in Ashfield ward.

“These statistics show that the market has failed as a housing provider.

“The pro-market, anti-people policies of all the major parties at the local, state and federal levels has placed shelter — a vital human need — in second place to profits.

“While this agenda has been most vigorously set by the Liberal party, pro-market compromise policies advanced by Labor and, to a lesser extent, the Greens have done little to reverse these toxic priorities.”

The Greens position — the “Empty Homes Levy” — to force property owners to pay up to three times more in rates if their properties are left vacant doesn’t address the problem.

Some property owners in the inner west can easily afford to pay more in rates, and they can also probably write off these extra levies. Those people who desperately need shelter and affordable rentals will not benefit.

Socialist Alliance candidates for the Inner West Council believe that as the market is big part of the current housing crisis, it cannot be relied on to fix it.

“Housing has to be taken out of the market and allocated to people based on need. Councils can and should play a much bigger role in providing housing to those in need,” said Pip Hinman, who is running in Stanmore ward.

“We support the right to decent, affordable and secure public housing which is allocated according to need. “Affordable” housing achieved through subsidies to landlords, short-term rent control, or tax breaks is no substitute for public housing.”

Socialist Alliance proposes that councils work with state and federal governments to:

a) Compel owners of empty houses to rent them out at no more than 20% of the tenants income.

b) Deny negative gearing tax write-offs to the owners of vacant properties, and

c) Work to amend the Local Government Act to deny non-residential votes to the owners of vacant residential properties.

d) Press the NSW government to reallocate those properties acquired and/or resumed for infrastructure — WestConnex or the Metrorail — to council for public housing.

e) Press the NSW government to provide funds for council-managed public housing as part of compensation for destructive impacts of WestConnex.

Socialist Alliance stands for a society in which human need and a sustainable environment are the key determinants for planning. As councils provide many local services, they can and should act to help assist grassroots action to improve the daily lives of its residents, including in the basic right of shelter.

More information on Socialist Alliance's housing policy see:

https://socialist-alliance.org/policy/housing/housing

Media contacts:

Pip Hinman - 0412 139 968
Susan Price - 0400 320 602
​Blair Vidakovich - 0424 677 719​