Housing Policy

Everyone has the right to access secure, affordable, and appropriate housing.

  • Secure: people should have protection against forced evictions, harassment, unreasonable rent increases, displacement, and other threats to their housing circumstances.
  • Affordable: housing costs should be at such a level that the attainment of other basic needs are not threatened or compromised. A household is typically described as being in housing stress if they pay more than 30% of their household income.
  • Appropriate: housing should meet resident's physical, emotional, and social needs, including the provision of adequate space, protection from weather, safe drinking water, and means of food storage.

Homeowners and strata

Home ownership and strata title has long been a policy and cultural goal in Australia. Homeowners who have paid off their mortgage typically enjoy more security over their tenure and lower weekly expenditure on housing than people living in other arrangements.

The family home as an asset:

Many older people own their home outright, which is important for financial security in retirement as the Age Pension rate of pay assumes people own their homes. However, building pressure to include the family home in the pension asset test threatens the security and affordability of housing for older people in Australia. The family home is not an asset that can readily be used to fund daily expenses and therefore should not be considered in asset test.

Downsizing:

There is increasing pressure on older Australians to sell their family homes and downsize into smaller houses. One of the biggest barriers preventing 'empty-nesters' from downsizing is a lack of appropriate housing options in their local area. In order to facilitate ageing in place, it is critical that there is a sufficient supply of two and three bedroom dwellings that meet basic liveable design standards, or can easily be modified to improve accessibility.

CPSA's position:

  • CPSA is opposed to including the family home in the aged pension asset test.
  • All new dwellings should be required to meet Liveable Housing Australia's silver level design standards.

Private Renters

Almost a third of all Australians now live in private rental housing compared to less than a quarter in the 1980s. However, private market rents in Australia are some of the highest in the world making access to affordable rental housing difficult, particularly for low to moderate income households.

Security of tenure:

The level of security available to people in the private rental market is low. Tenancy laws which are supposed to strike a balance between the rights of landlords and tenants are weighted heavily towards landlords, including short-term leases and unlimited rent increases etc. Currently if you rent in NSW you can be evicted without being given a reason. As a result, many renters are forced to move frequently and often put up with poor standards of accommodation putting them at risk of living in poverty.

Inclusionary zoning:

Mandating that a specific proportion of residential development includes affordable housing will help address the lack of affordable housing in Australia. Governments around the world have successfully implemented inclusionary zoning targets for affordable housing including a 50% target in London and New York. Whereas, in Australia where there are targets they are low. Affordable housing stock must increase to meet the needs of low income and older Australians and increasing the share of affordable housing in specified zones would help.

CPSA's position:

  • Improve renter's rights by abolishing 'no grounds' evictions.
  • Inclusionary zoning should apply to 30% of all floor space for new and upzoned developments to increase the stock of affordable housing.

Social Housing

Social housing refers to housing that is rented out to households on low incomes for below regular market rent. In most cases the housing is owned by a government agency or a nonprofit organisation. Social housing includes, public housing, community housing, affordable housing and transitional/crisis accommodation.

Over the last couple of decades, funding for social housing has fallen and the stock of social housing relative to the total housing stock has declined as well. This has led to extensive waiting lists for social housing, forcing many low income households into other precarious housing situations and housing stress.

CPSA's position:

  • Increase social housing stock to 20-30% of the overall housing stock.