Urgent Call for Tasmanian Housing Summit

Media Release Wednesday 21st February 2018

Shelter Tas is calling on all parties to support a cross-sector Housing Summit this year to focus on solutions to the State’s growing housing problems. As the peak body for housing affordability and homelessness issues in Tasmania, Shelter Tas is deeply concerned at the seismic shift that has taken place in Tasmania’s housing market in recent years, with unprecedented house and rental price increases, falling affordability and rising homelessness.

“The latest Rental Affordability Index showed housing stress in Tasmania rising up the income ladder, now also affecting working families, and our members are reporting levels of homelessness not seen before,” Shelter Tas Executive Officer, Pattie Chugg said. “The fastest growth in homelessness is amongst children and young people. This should not be allowed to continue.” she added.

The evidence is clear that the best way to end homelessness is to provide housing. “Getting houses on the ground in a way that achieves long term sustainable outcomes is complex and requires all sectors to work together with all parties involved, we need focused collaboration to achieve this,” said Ms Chugg.  “A housing summit can bring together government, community and private sector stakeholders to capitalise on expertise, innovation and to ensure we are all working together to help house all Tasmanians,” said Ms Chugg.

Access to secure housing underpins our community’s health, education, and the economy’s ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce. Shelter Tasmania points out that while Tasmania’s economy is doing well, the benefits are not being shared. It argues that Tasmania’s economic and population growth must be matched with a well-resourced housing and infrastructure strategy.

“Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Strategy is valuable and a solid foundation, but it is not keeping pace with our growing need”, said Ms Chugg. While Shelter Tasmania is pleased to see major parties announce housing policies this election, more is needed.

Shelter Tas points to the planning system, opportunities for joint ventures between the private and community sectors, tenancy legislation and better regulation of short term stay platforms like Airbnb, as areas that need to be addressed. Shelter Tas’ Election Priorities call for an increase in affordable rental housing, improved security for private renters, greater support for young people and better use of our planning system to plan for affordable housing.

“A cross-sector Housing Summit would give us a starting point for working together on this,” said Ms Chugg.

For more information and comment, contact: 
Andy Witt
Chairperson Shelter Tas
E: andrea.witt@aohtas.org.au
M: 0400 063 436

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