The Age has the long overdue news that the ACT Government is going to move to turf high income earners out of public housing.
The ACT Government is powerless to force middle-class households out of government homes, despite thousands of families being on the waiting lists.
Instead, housing bureaucrats can only ask tenants on more than $80,000 per year to ”reconsider” their continued presence in public housing.
But Housing Minister Joy Burch is considering legislative changes to send a message that public housing is not an unconditional home for life.
Roslyn Dundas from the ACT Council of Social Services predictably thinks this idea is not so great.
UPDATE 15/03/12 12:00: The Greens are not at all happy about the proposals:
ACT Greens Health spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA, has described the ACT Government’s proposal to take market renters out of public housing as lacking a long-term vision for public housing.
“The Government is proposing an extremely short term solution to Housing ACT’s long waiting list. There also is no detail at all about how they would replace the revenue lost from those paying market rent,” Ms Bresnan said.
“In most of these cases we are probably talking about single, middle aged to older women, with very little superannuation. We need to think about what will happen to them in the long term.
“We also face the situation where if tenants believe they will be evicted once they earn a certain income, they could choose to stay in their home and earn a lower income. This is counterproductive to the aim of giving people stability and the ability to be a contributing member of the community.
“Tenants who can get to the stage of paying market rent in Housing ACT properties are able to subsidise those other tenants on low incomes.
“Evicting market renters will only make the Housing ACT portfolio more unviable. The Government needs to show the cost of replacing this revenue. There was no accounting for this in the Public Housing Asset Management Strategy that was just released late last year.