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Postscript: Politics, housing policy and national cabinet


Bronwyn Stevens


The National Cabinet announced new policies agreed to by State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments aimed at ameliorating the escalating crisis in housing affordability and homelessness. This crisis has become a major political issue.

For the first time in decades many Australians of all backgrounds began to experience marginal, precarious housing or homelessness. As the cost of living and interest rates rose those who did not own a home or had large mortgages came under pressure. A shortage of housing stock made finding a rental property an expensive and perilous venture. Young people, older people, women and children, people in employment as well as people on marginal incomes were affected. Australians were shocked to hear of families living in cars. Tents began to appear on public land in the suburbs and regional Australia.

The policies the Commonwealth Labor Government took to the 2022 election were no longer adequate for the scale of the crisis, one that been developing for years as the policies of Commonwealth and State Governments failed to provide the affordable and public housing required. This has resulted in a staggering number of Australians being pushed into homelessness as rents escalate and construction languishes. Around 175,000 households are stagnating for years on social housing waiting lists (Morris 2023).

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