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No justification for Government complacency on housing.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Housing; Urban Development; Local Government and Territories


No justification for Government complacency on housing Housing, planning and local government Ministers will meet on 4 August 2005 to discuss housing affordability and related issues.

While States and Territories have been working together to develop a Framework for National Action on Affordable Housing, the Howard Government seems to believe that its ongoing complacency is a sufficient response to the complex issues currently facing the housing sector and home buyers.

It is wrong.

Yesterday, seasonally adjusted figures released by the ABS showed that the number of new home starts (or dwelling units commenced) had fallen by 3.1 per cent in the March quarter and was 14.8 per cent lower than in the March

quarter 2004.

However, the national figures hide significant state by state disparities. In NSW, dwelling commencements fell at more than twice the national rate, coming out 33.3 per cent lower than the same time last year.

The industry is expecting a soft landing. Its expectations are based partly on building approval figures, which have rebounded at a national level.

But again, when figures for May were released earlier this month, the Housing Industry Association noted that a 39.4 per cent increase in approvals for the month in Queensland offset a 22.9 per cent fall in NSW.

In NSW, dwelling unit approvals have fallen in eight out of the last 12 months in seasonally adjusted terms.

The squeeze on housing affordability in NSW will not be addressed in the longer term if the building of new homes falls too far.

Housing affordability and the health of the housing industry are critical issues for the Australian people and the economy.

The Howard Government must be held accountable for the health of Australia’s housing system. But in nine long years, it has failed to take a leadership role in this critical sector.

The Ministers meeting in August is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to step up to the plate. It is time for the Howard Government to commit to a national housing policy.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922 Electorate Office: 62 Lygon St CARLTON SOUTH 3053 Ph: 03 9639 2798 Fax: 03 9639 3109

Canberra Office: Parliament house CANBERRA ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3730 Fax: 02 6277 5911 Email: Toll Free Number: 1800 673 169