BRISBANE, AAP – Queensland’s peak industry and community bodies are urging the federal government and opposition to convene a national housing summit to deal with the worsening crisis in the state.
The Local Government Association of Queensland sent a letter on Tuesday to federal housing minister Michael Sukkar and Labor’s housing spokesman Jason Clare calling for an urgent summit.
The document has also been signed by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, Infrastructure Association of Queensland, Queensland Resources Council, Queensland Farmers’ Federation, the RACQ, Growcom, Waste Recycling Industry Association Queensland, QShelter, St Vincent de Paul Society and Urban Development Institute of Australia.
There were more than 50,000 people on the social housing waiting list in Queensland before the recent floods, which have damaged at least 68,000 homes leaving more than 1000 people living in emergency accommodation.
Net interstate migration has also been the highest in the nation for some time with more than 7000 people moving to Queensland in the year to March 2021, the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show.
The LGAQ and other ten industry groups said the crisis has been worsened by housing shortages, low interest rates, rising property prices, supply chain issues and significant labour shortages.
“The impact of this perfect housing storm on our state is resulting in a range of social challenges for individuals, families and local communities statewide including increased homelessness, mental health pressures, drug and alcohol abuse and crime rates,” they wrote in the letter.
“In some of our most vulnerable First Nations communities, overcrowding resulting from a shortage of housing has become a human rights issue and has escalated COVID-19 outbreaks during the pandemic.”
The peak bodies said every Queensland and Australian community deserved to be liveable, and the housing crisis will affect workers, industries and economic growth.
The state government announced a $771 million Resilient Residential Recovery Package to help retrofit 5500 homes, raise 1000 and buyback 500 after last month’s flood.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking to split the funding, but only after the package was announced.
The peak bodies said a national housing summit would allow all three levels of government and industry to work together to find solutions.
“We urge the federal government to listen to our clarion call and commit to this important step of a national summit,” they wrote.
“We stand willing and able to work with your government on this joint request, on behalf of our members – Queenslanders who deserve the security of affordable and secure housing, and a liveable community.”
In last year’s budget, the Queensland government committed $2.9 billon over four years for social housing supply which is expected to result 6365 homes being built.
Queensland Council of Social Services chief executive Aimee McVeigh called it “a good first step” but said the magnitude of the crisis required a “marathon, which must be run together by all levels of government”.
“The current level of investment will only address 21 per cent of the housing register and this does not account for the likelihood of continued exponential increases,” she said last year.