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Public housing waiting lists increase



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Media Release Geoff Prosser M.P. FEDERAL MEMBER FOR FORREST

Shadow Minister for Small Business, Housing and Customs.

8 November 1992

PUBLIC HOUSING WAITING LISTS INCREASE

Public housing waiting lists grew by a massive 20,750 or 10.2% over the last financial year, the Federal Opposition said today.

According to the Shadow Minister for Housing, Geoff Prosser, 223,469 families and individuals were waiting for public housing as 30 June 1992, up from 202,719 in June 1991 and 196,164 in June 1990.

"These figures are tangible proof of the devastation caused by the Prime Minister and his economic policies. Record high interest rates, the economic recession and nearly one million unemployed have pushed many families into housing poverty.

"While housing affordability may currently be at very good levels, this is little consolation to those without a job or, if employed, living in fear of losing their job. Nor is it any consolation to the 223,469 living in housing crisis."

Mr Prosser said that the figures were tragic and demanded immediate government action.

"With so many Australians seeking affordable housing, the Keating government must accept that the public housing system is not working and look at other ways of providing affordable accommodation.

"The government should look to the private sector for the provision of housing, with the States leasing them on a long-term basis to accommodate low-income public tenants. In New South Wales, for example, the government entered into agreement with AMP whereby they leased 1,000 homes from AMP over 20 years. As a result, the NSW government was able to accommodate 1,000 families in housing need without incurring the massive capital costs.

"Similarly, the Keating government should look at tightening eligibility for public housing. In Victoria, for example, 10% of public housing tenants have an income of more than $40,000.

"Given that the unemployment situation is not going to improve for a long time, the government must urgently consider new alternatives - now is not a time for it to rest on its laurels."

ends Canberra

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For further information contact Karen Kuschert on (06) 277 4717 or 286 5006(H).