Peak housing lobby questions sector’s future

April 26, 2022 BY

The City of Greater Geelong. Photo: SUPPLIED

REGIONAL council goals of establishing thousands of new social housing properties won’t be met without major long-term investment from the Victorian or federal government, according to a coalition of the nation’s peak housing, homelessness and welfare organisations.

The recent Andrews Government backflip on its plans to introduce a social housing levy following a backlash from developers has brought the issue back into focus, and prompted the head of the

Everybody’s Home campaign Kate Colvin to state that the City of Greater Geelong “can’t achieve” its plan for 6,000 homes in the next nine years.

“At this stage, the Victorian Government hasn’t made social housing funding commitments beyond 2024, and funding from the federal government has been declining in real terms over many years.

“The City of Greater Geelong has a fantastic social housing plan which complements the Victorian Government’s Big Housing Build investment, so Geelong will have some growth in affordable rentals over the next few years. But the plan can’t achieve the full ambition … without further investment from the Victorian or federal government,” Ms Colvin said.

Ms Colvin said losing the social housing levy that would have raised $7 billion over 10 years and built 1700 new affordable homes for Victorians was a major setback.

“The social housing levy was a great policy initiative and it’s devastating that it has been withdrawn.

“Housing economists have been calling for this kind of inclusionary zoning model for years.

“The levy would have had a small impact on developer profits, and developers put their profits before the needs of people who have no home and campaigned for the levy to be withdrawn.”

Ms Colvin wants developers and government to convene on a path forward, arguing without collective action, homelessness will continue to increase and more Australians will be squeezed out of the nation’s hot property market.

“The levy was one way of resourcing new social housing, but it is not the only way.

“Both the federal and state government need to invest in the social housing the community needs.

“Developers are a critical part of the housing production landscape, they make significant profits from housing inflation, and need to play a major role in contributing to a more equitable housing market.”