Parliament Updates

Zali Steggall MP calls for greater Government support for community housing

24 August, 2020


Thank you to the member for Newcastle for raising this is important issue of social housing. As we enter into our first recession in nearly 30 years, the issue of social and affordable housing is becoming increasingly acute. On 3 August I marked national homelessness day by taking a pledge to support more social housing, to create jobs and help end homelessness.

There are 500 homeless people in Warringah and 1,300 in need of social housing. Nearly 120,000 Australians are without a home every night, and we fear the problem will get worse throughout this COVID pandemic. As the economic impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, I, along with many of my colleagues in this place, are very concerned that this number could rise.

I urge the government to consider investment in social and affordable housing as a stimulus measure of the building sector. It will create many jobs and solve an important problem. I've met with various groups, including The Constellation Project, where one of my constituents is representing the lived experience of homeless people in a collaborative approach to solving homelessness. The project is being driven by the Australian Red Cross, the Centre for Social Impact, Mission Australia and PwC Australia and is seeking innovative approaches to addressing the issue.

Some are advocating, for example, for the creation of more homes through a variety of methods, including the development of mandatory inclusion zoning which mandates that new developments must factor in a portion of affordable housing to address supply. In the same way as we can look at community energy of ways of involving community, there's also the proposal of looking at community investment into social housing as we do in other sectors to ensure this problem is addressed but the full burden of the funding does not completely fall on government. This is one of the many problems and maybe social cracks that we're finding coming to the fore as a result of the COVID pandemic.

I call on the government and on the Prime Minister to be agile, to pivot and adapt to what we see are the problems that are really coming to the fore. Australia is a strong and unbelievably lucky and beautiful country, but we do have some failings and we do have some cracks. We need to do our very best to make sure everyone has a home, everyone has somewhere to be safe and warm at night and that we take care of everyone in our community. Thank you to the member for Newcastle for this motion, and I urge the government to listen. Thank you.