Before the COVID-19 crisis hit a lot of Australians were struggling to buy and rent a home:
- Home ownership rates were at their lowest level in 60 years
- Rental stress was through the roof, and
- The last Census revealed more Australians were homeless than ever before.
The COVID-19 crisis made it clear just how important safe and affordable housing is. Our homes have helped shield us from the virus.
But housing is not just key to this health crisis – it is also key to economic recovery.
Almost 1 million Australians work in the housing construction industry. Work in this industry is about to go off a cliff and lots of jobs are at risk.
Labor has repeatedly called on the Morrison Government to develop a comprehensive plan to stop massive job losses in this industry.
We have suggested this include:
- Construction of more social housing;
- Repair and maintenance of existing social housing;
- Construction of more affordable rental accommodation for frontline workers;
- Expansion of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme for new builds; and
- Grants to first home buyers who build their first home.
The Government’s HomeBuilder scheme barely ticks one of those boxes.
In times of economic crisis, housing construction has often played a key role in economic recovery.
During the Global Financial Crisis the former Labor Government invested about $7 billion in housing construction – including $5.6 billion to build 20,000 new social housing dwellings and repair a further 80,000 existing social housing dwellings.
It is incredibly disappointing that the HomeBuilder Scheme does not include one dollar for social housing.
This would have been a win-win: It would have meant more housing for Australians who need a roof over their head and more work for thousands and thousands of tradies.