Social housing a pipe dream

By Mitch Gaynor

Damning new figures show not one new social housing dwelling has been built across the Glass House electorate in the past four years.

The region had just 46 social housing dwellings with a total of 106 bedrooms in 2018, but new data showed that number had not changed in 2021.

The Caloundra electorate, which includes Landsborough and Beerwah, received just 36 new social housing bedrooms, over the four years.

Of the 46 Glass House social housing dwellings, eight, or approximately 18 per cent, are underoccupied, the data showed.

The new data comes as community groups and politicians push for better planning to increase housing affordability.

Glass House state MP, Andrew Powell, said housing affordability had disappeared in the electorate because of regional and town planning restrictions, Covid-19, interstate migration and the short-term accommodation boom.

 “But for our most vulnerable, those who depend on the Government for a roof over their heads, there is only one reason – the failures of the Palaszczuk Labor Government,” he said.

“Five years ago, we were told they were investing $2 billion over 10 years to build social housing across the state. 

“Well, not in Glass House.  Back in 2018, we had just 46 social housing dwellings with a total of 106 bedrooms.  In 2021, that number had not changed.  Not by one dwelling, not even by one bedroom.  Zero growth.”

“Our most vulnerable deserve better.  They were promised better.  No wonder we have a social housing crisis in this region,” Mr Powell said.

Minister for Communities and Housing, Leanne Enoch said the Queensland Government was investing $2.9 billion, including the establishment of a $1 billion Housing Investment Fund, under the Queensland Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021–2025.

“This is the largest concentrated investment in social housing in Queensland’s history and will see the commencement of 10,000 new homes over the life of the Housing Strategy,” she said.

Local Greens spokesman Andrew McLean said that the government needed to consider collaborative housing as a way to reduce the burden of worsening affordability.

“Let’s have a hard look at collaborative housing,” he said. “These are really important solutions.”

“It’s maligned in Australia, but most people that live in them are normal wage-earning people and we get hundreds of people calling us to come and see our model,” he said.

“Not since the 1970s have we had such a ‘back to the land’ movement, people realise they don’t have to live in cities,”

Not-for-profit housing group, Smart Living Society, was urging governments to open up more land for social housing development.

“A lot of people who deserve to live here can’t afford it and are being pushed out,” SLS’s Paulette Steele said.

SLS was now writing to the Sunshine Coast Council urging them to allow land to be utilised to ease the burden of housing affordability.