People in the ACT are being hit hard by the cost-of-living crisis facing all Australians and access to affordable housing is the most acute pressure.
We have a crippling shortage of social and affordable housing in Canberra.
More than half of the funding the ACT currently receives from the federal government under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement is returned in interest payments on the historic debt. That money needs to be going towards new supply.
Senator Gallagher may, of course, say the Government won’t be doing any deals but the fact remains, the Government doesn’t have a majority in the Senate. I wouldn’t be doing the right thing by the people who elected me if I didn’t try everything possible to see this debt forgiven.
From opposition, Senator Gallgher called on the former government to forgive the ACT’s historic housing debt, it is really disappointing that now in government she is ruling out doing so.
It was a federal Labor government that forgave the bulk of South Australia’s historic housing debt back in 2013, a far more sizeable $320 million payment than the $102 million I am asking for.
As Senator Gallagher knows, the ACT has one of the smallest revenue bases but also the highest rental costs in the country. If the government is serious about increasing the supply of social and affordable housing then forgiving this debt is a very sensible first step.
If we can't afford to wipe $102 million of historic housing debt, how can we possibly afford $243 billion in tax cuts?
This looks like a govt choosing to let people sleep in cars while planning to give tax cuts to politicians and other wealthy Australians.
We need to treat housing as the crisis it is and act now. If the government is serious about building more social and affordable housing then wiping the ACT's housing debt is sensible.
If the federal government allocates the promised 30,000 new dwellings being built in five years under the Housing Australia Future Fund on a per capita basis, the ACT will get 540 new social and affordable homes. Averaged out that is 108 homes per year when the current shortfall stands at over 3,100.