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Housing and Renters Rights

Adjournment Speech on Housing and Renters Rights 

Amy MacMahon

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Mr Speaker, last week QCOSS, along with twelve other organisations (Anglicare, BHC, Micah Projects, Mission Australia, Multicap, Save the Children, St Vincent De Paul Society, Wesley Mission, YFS, Mercy Community, Lifeline and Kyabra), launched a campaign urging the Queensland Government to act on the social housing crisis. 

They are calling for an investment of $4.1 billion dollars, to build 14,700 homes for Queenslanders most in need. 

Everyone in this chamber should be familiar with the devastation of Queensland’s housing crisis. 47,000 people waiting on the social housing register. That includes 26,000 families, and the list has increased by 68% since 2017. 

This week we’ve learned that the government has sold off almost 2,000 public homes since July 2015. This after promising they’d never sell off public assets again. Selling off thousands of public homes represents thousands of broken promises and is an insult to the 47,000 people Labor has left to rot on the social housing waitlist.

The excuse that public housing is being sold off to fund new social homes, is the same excuse used by the LNP Newman government. 

The Minister for Housing claimed this week that the government are delivering the biggest investment in housing since the second world war. Let’s have a look at the history. 

Between 1945 and late 1950s almost 100,000 public homes were built across Australia.

The QLD Commission built around 22,000 homes over this time. 

QLD’s population then was around 1.5 million, and so this is roughly one home for every 65 people. 

With today’s population, a comparable number would be 79,000 homes over a decade.

Compare this to the government’s housing strategy to build just 5,500 homes over a decade.

And Mr Speaker, you know what else we did during WW2? We introduced rent caps. 

Right now, our rental system is being stretched to its absolute capacity. In Brisbane, vacancy rates are at just 1.5%. For people on JobSeeker, or the DSP, there are next to zero affordable rental properties. And rents are increasing three times faster than wages. 

Mr Speaker, we know what we need to do in Queensland to ensure that every Queenslander has a home. That is why I fully support QCOSS’s calls for more public housing. 

We could afford to build 100,000 public homes over the next 4 years with a modest bank levy, a value gains tax for developers, or an increase to mining royalties.

Long awaited rental reform in Queensland has to include caps on rent increases. This is a crucial part of ensuring every Queenslander has a home. 

Mr Speaker, the only reason that we, in a wealthy state like Queensland, have a housing crisis, is a lack of political will.