ACTCOSS welcomes investments to address ACT housing crisis

21 June 2023

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today welcomed the ACT Government’s announcement of $345m in additional funding for housing measures in the 2023-24 ACT Budget. The investment will be spread across public housing growth and renewal, land release and the Affordable Housing Project Fund.

ACTCOSS CEO Dr Devin Bowles said: “We congratulate the Government for actively prioritising investment in social, affordable and community housing, so that more Canberrans have access to a safe, secure home.

“With 3,159 applicants currently on the social housing waiting list, there is an urgent need for significant growth in public housing stock in the ACT. The need for rapid growth to meet population demands is underscored by an average waiting time for standard housing that exceeds five years in the ACT.

“We note the Federal Government’s commitment to allocate $50m to social housing in the ACT and are keen to see this re-engagement with the ACT Government to ensure the Territory receives a fair share of federal investment. The $55.9m announced by the ACT Government for delivering 140 new public housing dwellings is an important step towards addressing the significant undersupply.

“Prohibitively high private rental prices have meant ACT remains the jurisdiction with the highest rate of lower-income private renters experiencing rental stress. Heavy cost of living and rental pressures have left many in our community in increasingly difficult positions, choosing between which essentials can be covered each week.

“The ACT’s housing affordability crisis disproportionately affects people on low-incomes, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people experiencing domestic and family violence and people with disability. Growing our housing supply is imperative to reducing prices and improving equity as our most disadvantaged community members are often renters experiencing high levels of rental stress.

“The funding is a welcome and necessary intervention to address the current and projected shortfall in social housing dwellings in the ACT. To meet its aims of increasing the affordable long-term rental supply, we are keen to see the ACT Government actively collaborate with and empower our community housing providers to access appropriate funding and land releases to build more homes,” Dr Bowles concluded.

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Devin Bowles, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0413 435 080.

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