Compass Housing has marked World Habitat Day by renewing its calls for a national housing plan led by a dedicated federal housing minister.
The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of everyone to have adequate and affordable shelter. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.
The theme of this year’s World Habitat Day is Housing Policies: Affordable Homes.
Compass Group Managing Director Greg Budworth said addressing housing affordability was critical to the long-term health of Australian society.
“Australia currently has some of the most expensive housing anywhere on earth,” he said
“Both Sydney and Melbourne are already in the top 10 least affordable cities in the world and Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra aren’t far behind.”
“Even regional towns like Newcastle are extraordinarily expensive by international standards.”
“A lack of affordable housing causes economic and social segregation within our cities. It forces households to take on unsustainable levels of debt and it places those on low incomes at risk of homelessness,” he said.
“If we don’t get this right, we are condemning our children and grandchildren to a lower standard of living than the one we have enjoyed,” Mr Budworth said.
Mr Budworth said this year’s World Habitat Day marked the one year anniversary of the Australian Government signing up to the New Urban Agenda (NUA) – a 20 year United Nations roadmap that encourages countries to rethink the way they plan, manage and live in cities.
He said while there had been some positive developments, including the creation of a National Housing Finance Corporation, and new incentives to attract private investment in affordable housing, a comprehensive national plan was required to ensure momentum wasn’t lost.