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Public Housing – for people who need it

By Indi - 13 May 2005 28

I’d heard on the wireless this morning that the Greens MLA from the ACT Parliament is residing in public housing. Isn’t this a bit ‘rich’ coming from someone proclaiming to stand up for the ‘battler’, yet occupying a home that could be given to someone in real need.

Sounds like a failed government policy….the Chief Minister doesn’t really sound interested in accommodating people with real housing needs, and by the way, it’s ok for someone earning good money (eg. parliamentarian) to remain in public housing for life!

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Public Housing – for people who need it
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the_chosen_one 10:55 am 11 Mar 11

johnboy said :

Nick, the Chifley model depressed any investment that wasn’t government driven.

We can do better without it.

Emergency housing for those in emergencies I say

I am sure a big chunk of Canberrans are in need of “emergency” housing. In fact, my wife and I are spending around 35% of our income on rent and we’re probably more “secure” than most.

This arrangement, however, is very virulent as I am studying to become a doctor, and thinking of raising a family is downright prohibitive. It sort of takes us to that Australian disaster called the rapidly aging population due to abysmal TFR, which is going to result into us literally burying old folks alive due to uncontrollable costs. I think we’re wasting our time with this crap and ought to focus on implementing real mechanisms to reduce housing scarcity.

Substantially increase the density, and increase the stock of affordable housing. Canberra isn’t Mumbai, which interestingly has plenty of solutions available to eliminate housing scarcity. This crap wouldn’t be a reality for so many if the government wasn’t conspiring with landowners. Besides, in much of Europe, it isn’t unusual for professionals to live in public housing. It’s actually a lot better if public housing had a mixture of different incomes rather than being low-income ghettos.

Ralph 8:23 am 16 Jun 05

Yes it did crowd-out private investment.

The Chifley model was also aimed at getting people into public housing only until they had saved enough to buy their own place. Many workers ended up purchasing their public housing properties when they retired.

johnboy 12:17 am 16 Jun 05

Nick, the Chifley model depressed any investment that wasn’t government driven.

We can do better without it.

Emergency housing for those in emergencies I say

nickw 7:22 pm 15 Jun 05

Whoa! The reason we are discussing Deb Foskey’s supposed ethical dilemma is because in Australia today there are 100,000 homeless people and an acute shortage of affordable housing.

This is not of Deb’s doing, so why should she lose her housing when her circumstances improve, whereas I (and you) do not? We are all paying market value for our homes and depend on them to underpin our sanity. Deb is more directly subsidising public housing than us.

This hysteria has emerged before – do you remember Irena Dunne? NDP Senator in public housing? Not if the ideological zealouts in the then NSW Liberal government had anything to do with it. She too was vilified and hounded out of her home and the following twenty years of public policy has consistently reduced investment in public housing. There is now a greater crisis of unmet need and another easy target to vilify.

A less personalised look at the issues facing public housing might begin with the Chifleyan dream of secure affordable housing for all. Cheifley offered a cost-rental system that was designed to house a significant proportion of the population and to become independent of government subsidy in a 30-40 year timescale.

This model works. This is evident in the Australian experience up to the 1970’s, when selling off public housing at uneconomic prices became a policy option.

Our consideration needs also to include the debates in the fifties and sixties which stressed the need to support home ownership (almost to any cost) as a bulwark against communism. Politicians of the day extolled the virtue of giving everyone a stake in the country and capitalism by selling them a bit of (Aboriginal)land, a dream and a debt.

While the Whitlam years saw support for public housing and the cold war rhetoric has toned down, public policy itself has been the worst enemy of public housing.

At every opportunity, governments have sold off housing rather than let their systems become self-sustaining, eligibility criteria are tightened, funding is reduced and an ever-decreasing resource is doled out under increasingly suspicious and resentful circumstances.

A welfare industry is maintained, we now have some of the world’s largest banks, a docile working class and an under-class too busy filling in application forms to hold a revolution. It works.

We can now happily spend three times as much on negative gearing tax breaks than we do on public housing and nobody complains.

Throughout the current federal government’s term there has been less money for public and emergency housing each year, to the point that most state housing authorities are cannibalising there own stock in deals with the private sector becasue they can’t afford to keep on as they are. NSW Department of Housing, for instance, is losing over five million dollars per week, after all the funding, rents and loans are counted.

So settle back, light a cigar, swig deeply on your brandy and thank your God that our public subsidies are worked out quietly by the accountant. See you at the auctions.

johnboy 9:42 pm 07 Jun 05

Bilby, did they mention it takes over 12 months to get a house even if you’re on the priority list. All the while they guarantee tenure?

Draw your own conclusions but the mission statement last I saw it made no mention of need or emergency.

Providing affordable housing is unrelated to either of those issues.

bilby 5:12 pm 07 Jun 05

ACT public housing has an income test, along with other criteria. It is intended to provide “affordable” housing, ie. for low income people, and priority is given to urgent cases (check their website.) To argue that Deb Foskey is not at fault because there is no “emergency housing” in the ACT is not the point. I suspect her income is now well above the level where she qualifies for public housing. She’s only allowed to stay because she’s already in it, and she’s keeping someone who can’t afford private housing from affordable accommodation.

Canberra_unsung_hero 11:44 pm 15 May 05

Nevertheless, those miserable Gits in London Circuit need a good shake-up …. including the Opposition !

johnboy 11:18 pm 15 May 05

There’s no multi billions $ operation that can afford to start from scratch.

nice idea but this one isn’t going to be an easy ride.

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