Federal Election 2022 – Housing a ‘human right’: Australia needs a national 30-year housing strategy

The Australian Institute of Architects has called for housing to be recognised as a basic human right, which would be supported by a generational plan for affordable and social housing.

The nation’s peak body for architects and the built environment’s Federal Election Policy Statement A Time For Action, seeks a boost to affordable housing supply to address growing demand.

The Institute’s National President Tony Giannone said all political parties should commit to a core government priority to appoint a Cabinet-level Minister for Housing, and devise a 30-year National Housing Strategy.

“Adequate housing should be a right in a country as lucky as Australia, but it’s not,” he said. “We need a national, centralised system to monitor housing supply and establish targets for social and affordable housing for those who need it.”

A member survey of more than 400 people conducted by the Institute found more than six out of 10 (62%) respondents rated housing affordability as an issue that was “absolutely critical”. More than one in five ranked housing affordability among their top three issues that would decide the election.

Almost nine out of 10 members said the government needed to do more to address Australia’s rising housing stress, including shortages of social, community and public housing.

More than one million low-income households were deemed to be experiencing housing stress before the pandemic, while up to two million people are estimated to be at risk of homelessness.

One in five First Nations people are living in overcrowded conditions, and about one-third of homes in remote areas were deemed an unacceptable standard.

Despite this, the Institute believe neither of the two major political parties has committed to a plan to increase significantly the availability of social housing during the campaign. The ALP’s National Housing Supply and Affordability Council, however, is headed in the right direction to assess the need and impact of additional supply. The Greens’ very ambitious policy of one million affordable public and community houses over 20 years is positive in its outlook but voters will have to be convinced in its implementation.

The Institute has called for national minimum standards to promote planning code changes in collaboration with state and territory governments to increase inclusionary zoning, backed by incentives for the jurisdictions to implement those design standards.

Likewise, housing quality standards – especially in remote and regional areas where the need is greater – should be created to make sure residences are fit-for-purpose, accessible and well-maintained.

“Social housing and affordable housing initiatives need to be delivered for the long term, not for the next election,” Mr Giannone said.

“A decades-long, funded strategy will help to overcome the challenges of housing stress and unaffordability, and ultimately make Australia a better society where everyone has a home. Bipartisan support is necessary to make this happen, and honestly, who could argue against it?”

 

For media enquiries contact:

Rosanne Barrett on behalf of the Australian Institute of Architects

M. +61 0425 420 024 |  hello@barrettcomms.com.au