Minister's words on social housing not backed up by actions

Senator Marise Payne, Shadow Minister for Housing, has called on the Rudd-Gillard Government to back up its words with actions following a speech by Social Housing Minister Senator Mark Arbib which highlighted shortcomings in the social housing sector.

“We commend Senator Arbib’s recognition of problems with the social housing system, however it is up to his superiors in Cabinet to fix the problems,” Senator Payne said.

“While Senator Arbib is trying to work out how to improve the sector, Prime Minister Gillard is introducing a carbon tax that will add thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home for builders who already pay excessive developer charges.

“While it is encouraging to hear Senator Arbib talk about problems with social housing, the fact is that his Government’s poor economic management and wasteful spending is driving up inflation and the cost of living and pushing many families over the edge.

“Much of the demand for social housing is as a result of high rental prices, which rose by 4.2 per cent in 2010, well above the general inflation rate of 2.7 per cent.

“And with the ranks of the long-term unemployed swelling under Labor, Senator Arbib’s comments that demand for public housing will increase are spot on.

“Senator Arbib talks of a national regulatory system for community housing to encourage sustainable growth of the sector, but with Labor’s dismal record on co-operative federalism through the COAG process, stakeholders would be wise not to hold their breath.

“The fact remains, Senator Arbib cannot improve social housing when Labor’s approach to housing is dysfunctional and responsibilities are split between three different ministers and two different departments.”