BRISBANE, AAP – The Queensland government is building less public housing and slower than it was in the 1940s with advocates warning the waiting list is growing faster than supply.
The state’s public housing waiting registrar has 47,000 applicants waiting for homes.
The Queensland government invested $1.6 billion to construct 5500 social and affordable homes back in 2017.
About 1415 homes have been completed over the four years the program has been running, or about 350 homes a year.
Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch called the program the biggest public investment in housing since World War II.
However, the Queensland Council of Social Services says after the war Queensland was actually building more public housing and quicker than it is today.
QCOSS chief executive Aimee McVeigh says about 1500 public housing units were being built each year to keep up with demand in the late 1940s.
“If a similar per capita investment were made today, we’d be building 5400 homes each year,” she said in a statement.
“People are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. The COVID crisis has shown us how important housing is for people’s health and for the health of all Queenslanders, but the pandemic has worsened the housing crisis.”
In contrast to Queensland, the Victorian government last month earmarked $80 million to rapidly build almost 240 homes across the state.
The Andrews government also allocated $5.3 billion to build 12,000 new social housing units across Victoria, boosting the state’s supply by 10 per cent, in their November budget.
Ms Enoch blamed the federal government for exacerbating the state’s housing crisis by winding back the National Rental Affordability Scheme.
But Ms McVeigh said the Queensland government could easily step up investment in new homes in the upcoming state budget.
“Both the Commonwealth government and the Queensland government have a responsibility to do something urgently about the housing crisis. Supply is simply not keeping up with demand,” she said.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use debt for good and create a lasting legacy.
“We saw similar levels of investment after World War II and after the GFC.”
QCOSS launched their Town of Nowhere campaign calling for landmark investment in public and social housing in Queensland on Thursday.
The Town of Nowhere campaign’s name reflects that the 47,000 people on the housing waiting list is greater than the population of many large towns in Queensland.