BRISBANE, AAP – The private sector has joined community groups in a push for the Queensland government to invest more in housing, with the state’s waiting list for homes growing by more than two-thirds in the last four years.
The state’s public housing waiting register has 47,000 applicants, a rise of 68 per cent since 2017 when the government invested $1.6 billion to construct 5500 social and affordable homes.
About 1400 homes have been completed over the four years the program has been running, or about 350 homes a year.
The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS), the Liberal National Party, the Greens and the Katter’s Australian Party have been pushing the Labor government to boost housing investment in the upcoming budget.
The Property Council of Australia and Master Builders Queensland have now joined the campaign, saying the government must address its “prolonged underinvestment” in housing.
PCA Queensland executive director Jen Williams says many state-owned properties are unfit for purpose because they need significant maintenance, are too big or small for tenants, or fail to meet accessibility requirements.
“Programs like the government’s Build-to-Rent pilot project are providing welcome opportunities for the delivery of affordable housing, however they are a drop in the ocean when it comes to the extent of community demand,” Ms Williams said in a statement.
“Rather than ‘going it alone’, the government must look to partner with the private and community housing sectors to repurpose existing stock and deliver substantial new stock, as this will see every dollar of government investment multiplied.”
Master Builders Queensland, the state’s peak building and construction group, also urged the Labor government to invest in social and affordable housing.
Chief executive Paul Bidwell said investment in home building would give more Queenslanders shelter and boost economic growth.
“It’s vital the Queensland government continues to support Queenslanders, ensuring they have a roof over their heads with an injection of capital for a range of social and affordable housing,” he said.
“We know that for every $1 million of spending on residential construction, nine full-time jobs are created, and an additional $2.9 million of economic activity is generated, making our industry the heartbeat of our economy.”
QCOSS chief executive Aimee McVeigh said the state government had not been investing enough to keep up with demand.
She said it was like “emergency sandbags against what is a tsunami of need” for housing.
“There are 47,000 Queenslanders who do not have a safe place to call home tonight,” Ms McVeigh said.
“With record numbers of interstate migration and record low vacancy rates, the Queensland government must act on the housing crisis.”