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PIPA: Government scapegoats investors for ‘bulging’ social housing arrears

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Nicola Mcdougall Spi Vwpcig.jpg

Despite raising property taxes on private investors by 73% since 2012, the government has failed to reinvest these funds into social housing, investment groups argue.

The Property Investment Professionals Association of Australia (PIPA) said state and federal governments were “using private investors as a scapegoat” for the housing crisis, despite insufficient investment in public housing.

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They said the Government had failed to significantly increase the country’s housing stock of 430,000 social housing units and was “passing the buck” for the rising rent crisis.

“If you want to understand why Australia is in such a mess and why so many people can’t buy a home, you just have to look at our population growth rate and the rapid increase in people needing assistance and compare that to the investment in social housing,” PIPA chair Nicola McDougall said.

As of 2022, public and affordable housing accounts for 4.1% of Australia’s total housing stock, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

In New South Wales, social housing makes up 4.7% of the total housing stock, compared with 2.9% in Victoria, 3.5% in Queensland and 3.9% in Western Australia – all of these figures reflect an overall decline over the past decade.

By 2022โ€“In FY23, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) recorded $68 billion in property taxes paid to the government, including stamp duty but excluding capital gains tax.

During the same period, PIPA said, “According to the ATO, the government invested just 1.4% of total revenue in housing and community amenities.”

Meanwhile, 35% of people who sought emergency government assistance were denied.

Using Victoria as a case study, PIPA said the Victorian government increased its social housing stock by just 74 homes in the four years to 2022.

“Over the same period, the massive waiting list of Victorians in desperate need of a place to live has soared to 57,672 households,” Mr McDougall said.

“While talking about solving the housing crisis, some major state governments have been secretly selling off social homes to make profits, leaving residents behind,” PIPA alleged.

“Instead of providing meaningful solutions, getting badly needed supplies to the market and supporting those in our communities who are most vulnerable, the government is shifting the blame,” McDougall concluded.

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