With Tasmanian state elections to be held on 3 March 2018, we are setting out our position on key issues facing the Tasmanian electorate.
Affordable, safe and long-term housing lies at the heart of a healthy and prosperous community. However, housing availability and affordability is a persistent and growing problem facing Tasmania.
What are the issues?
Uniting is particularly concerned that the tightening rental market is creating a housing shortage, which means there is less affordable housing for low-income earners. Some of the factors which contribute to the lack of affordable housing are:
- The 49% drop in advertised rental properties over the last 5 years.
- Rents increasing faster than the minimum wage.
- Introduction of short-stay websites.
- Current housing shortages have forced many into unsafe or unsuitable housing.
- Tasmanians on income support find it difficult to find affordable housing.
- People with health conditions and the homeless may have to wait up to a year to be allocated social housing due to existing shortages.
What should be done?
All the major parties have indicated their intention to fund programs to increase housing stock. While this is a good start, we believe more ambitious targets are needed to prevent a homelessness crisis in the decade ahead.
Uniting would like to to see:
- The increase of existing targets in Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Strategy, for public and community rental housing, to at least 150 dwellings by 2025.
- The reintroduction of the Reintegrating Ex-Offenders Program to assist former prisoners.
- More secure lease arrangements to assist tenants.
- Set maximum amounts by which rents can increase each year.
- Offering better ways for tenants to get help when they are being unfairly treated by their landlord.
We encourage the government to build on existing policies which have the ability to provide immediate relief for Tasmanians affected by the housing crisis. We suggest:
- Managing the impact of online short-stay platforms on the availability of long-term rental housing.
- Introducing a vacant property and foreign investment tax.
- Requiring any new developments to include a proportion of affordable rentals.
- Reducing the time it takes for tenants to have their bonds returned from the Rental Deposit Authority.
To find out more about Uniting’s position on key housing issues in Tasmania, please click here to download our policy statement.