FEDERAL ELECTION 2016 – EXTENDED COMMENTS ON HOUSING

JULY 2 2016 FEDERAL ELECTION

CANDIDATES FOR SEAT OF SYDNEY

 

FALANGA Ula                      Christian Democrats

BERRIMAN Mark                 Animal Justice

SPIKE Chris                         Sustainable Australia Party

WINTERS Geoffrey             Liberals

GEISER Tom                        Science Party

ELLSMORE Sylvie              Greens

BOYLE Peter                        Socialist Alliance

PLIBERSEK Tanya             Labor

LANNING Rebecca             Sex Party

TZORAS Tula                       Online Direct Democracy Party

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The following candidates were contacted and sent replies which are published in full below

 

WINTERS Geoffrey             Liberals

ELLSMORE Sylvie              Greens

BOYLE Peter                        Socialist Alliance

TZORAS Tula                       Online Direct Democracy Party

 

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The following candidates were contacted but did not reply

 

FALANGA Ula                      Christian Democrats

PLIBERSEK Tanya             Labor

 

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The following candidates had not nominated when the Glebe Grapevine sent out the questionnaire and were therefore not invited to respond to the questionnaire

 

BERRIMAN Mark                 Animal Justice

SPIKE Chris                         Sustainable Australia Party

GEISER Tom                        Science Party

LANNING Rebecca             Sex Party


 

Responses

Sylvie Ellsmore    Greens

The 16 year waiting list for public housing in NSW has been caused by under-investment by successive State and Territory Governments, who have not only failed to build sufficient new housing, but failed to maintain existing housing stock, creating a false sense of crisis and is being used as an argument that public housing is too expensive to maintain, and needs to be selectively sold off.

The Greens strongly support greater funding for public housing. Specifically, the Greens will reform negative gearing and removing capital gains tax discounts, and redirect the $6.8 billion estimated cost pa to increasing public housing and homeless services. It is possible to redirect this funding to provide housing for everyone on the public housing waiting list by 2030 – the Greens have costed plans available at http://greens.org.au/

The Glebe Estate has been a vital part of Glebe for generations, and must be protected. The Greens are proud to stand with residents in their campaign to protect against attempts to run down or sell public housing in Glebe. As someone who grew up in Glebe and whose family still lives here, I know first hand the valuable contribution that estate has made to making Glebe a strong community.

  1. It is a national disgrace that in Australia, as one of the richest nations in the world, 105,000 Australians don’t have a place to call home, and that more than a quarter are children under 18. Seventy percent of young people who end up homeless are fleeing domestic violence or family breakdown.

With most crisis refuges reliant on Federal funding, and only 6% of people seeking long term accommodation being housed, a key action to address homelessness is to significantly restore and expand Federal
funding for refuges, including specialist refuges to tailor for key groups at risk at homelessness including woman, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and young people. At the State level the Greens strongly opposed reforms which saw specialist women’s refugees become general services.

In addition to those noted above, federally the Greens housing proposals include:

– Doubling the federal funding for Specialist Homelessness Services under the original National Affordable Housing Agreement (and index the funding by 7%), at a cost of $507 million pa;
– Signing a new ten year National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness and double funding under the original agreement, at a cost of $320 million pa; and
-Reversing the cuts to the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which helps people on low incomes afford the extremely high rents in Sydney.

Obviously homelessness is a complex issue, and addressing homelessness also requires ensuring there are other adequate, publicly accessible social services for the inner city.

Also, for those living in housing stress who are at risk of homeless, most of whom are in the private rental market, the Greens support national standards to increase rights for renters, including protection for security of tenure, an end to no fault tenancy terminations and the generally capping of annual rent increases to CPI.

  1. As our city grows, it is important that new housing is built close to transport – which includes increased densities in the inner city. However, this must be sustainable, meaning that new development must be accompanied by infrastructure including new green spaces, child care centres, schools, public transport and other strategies to reduce car dependence.

Crucially, residents must have a genuine say about development in their local area. As a former Marrickville Councillor I was proud to both work to ensuring that new builds included genuine affordable housing where possible, and to stand with residents in campaigns against proposed over-development in the innerwest. Too often exceptions and concessions are given to large developers, with minimal requirements to give back to the community. In Glebe, the Greens were proud to stand with in their community campaign residents to win concessions at Harold Park, but we still have far to go to ensure our laws are guided by community needs and not developer greed.

The lack of ability for local Councils to enforce genuine affordable housing targets in new developments is out of step with other global cities like New York and London, and is helping drive housing unaffordability in Sydney. The Greens support a 30%-50% housing affordability target for large urban growth projects.

  1. I support a vacant property tax. Recent research shows inner city vacancies of rental properties is very high in inner Sydney – up to 14%. Despite a very tight housing market, tax incentives encourage some landlords to leave properties vacant. This must change. As part of our housing policies, the Greens have released a “convert to rent package” which includes incentives for landlords to convert vacant properties to low cost rental.

For more details about the Greens policies please see: http://greens.org.au/ or contact the campaign at sydney@nsw.greens.org.au
PETER BOYLE – SOCIALIST ALLIANCE

  1.      Do you support greater Federal funding for public housing?

 

Yes. The federal government needs to take major responsibility for infrastructure in all major cities because that is where most people live and it has the power to raise revenue though progressive income taxation.

 

Federal and state governments have been neglecting public infrastructure for decades because they believed that cutting social spending and increasing corporate handouts would be “good for the economy”. It didn’t work. The rich just got richer while our public services and infrastructure — including public housing stock — were run down and distorted.

 

Now, we have to catch up for these lost decades of privation.

 

A major federal investment in public housing is a key infrastructure need.

 

Sydney’s “housing market” might be producing big profits for developers, real estate agents and speculators, but it is failing to deliver affordable and quality housing.

 

More and more people – especially people with young families – are finding it impossible to afford to rent, let alone buy.

 

At least two generations have been denied the dream of owning their own home, while others have become debt slaves to try to pay off ridiculous mortgages.

 

Less than 1% of rental properties are affordable for low-income families in Sydney and the Illawarra, according to a study by Anglicare Sydney.

 

And the state of the lower-price rental housing on the market is shocking. They are total dumps!

 

There were nearly 60,000 on the waiting list for public housing last year in NSW. The Baird Coalition government has only promised to build 9000 new public housing dwellings over the next 25 years while continuing to sell off existing public housing stock.

 

This is a social disaster that the federal government needs to address.

 

We need to make housing a social right. We could build quality, ecologically sustainable and affordable housing at a fraction of the price that “the market” is demanding.

 

This is also part of the urgently needed infrastructure investment in addressing the climate change emergency.

 

  1.      How would you resolve homelessness in Glebe?

 

The preconditions for addressing homelessness in Glebe – and anywhere else – are: a. More affordable housing; b. More appropriate housing, addressing the special needs of many of the people who are currently homeless; and c. More appropriate social services, including mental health services, which are all currently facing cuts.

 

Once again, federal funding is needed to address these needs for the reasons I cited above.

 

  1.      What is your view on inner city housing density?

 

There is a social and environmental need to have more medium density housing in Sydney. However, under the current rules and regulations, big developers are having a field day and residents and communities are severely disempowered.

 

Driven by sheer greed, developers are trying to squeeze in as much high-rise housing and commercial buildings into inner city along key transport corridors.

 

Mirvac’s high-rise plans for the Pyrmont Shopping Centre re-development and the Central to Eveleigh precinct are examples of this. Another example is Deicorp’s plans for the historic Redfern Block. And who knows what other horrors are planned with the Waterloo public housing redevelopment?

 

The community is never told the full story, and what we are told often comes far too late for effective community response.

 

The rules and regulations favour the big developers and often the community has no real say at all.

 

As a general rule I favour a five-storey limit on all suburban, including inner-Sydney suburban, housing developments. This would cater to social well-being as well as the community’s need to preserve heritage and historical significance.

 

Relatively high housing densities have been reached in cities like Barcelona, with similar restrictions on high-rise building.

 

  1.      Do you agree with a vacant property tax?

 

Yes, a vacant property tax would play a useful role in reducing the high rate of vacant housing in Sydney.

 

According to a recent media report, 90,000 properties are left vacant across greater Sydney, with the vacancy rate as high as one in seven in some parts of the Sydney electorate.

 

This adds to housing shortages and lifts rents. Basically, speculators are “parking” money in vacant buildings and just waiting to rake in capital gains in a skyrocketing property market.

 

 

Biography for Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney

 

I have lived in Sydney’s inner-west for 25 years and have raised two daughters in the area.

 

I have had a long involvement with the Aboriginal rights’ movement, especially in the campaign against deaths in custody and the struggle for land rights.

 

I have also been involved in protests to save public housing in Glebe, Millers Point and in Redfern.

 

I was one of the founding national convenors of the Socialist Alliance and I now co-convene the Sydney Central branch of the Socialist Alliance. I write regularly for the newspaper Green Left Weekly.

Tula Tzoras — Online Direct Democracy

  1. I personally support greater funding for public housing and we offer voters the opportunity to vote online taking the majority vote straight to Parliament.
  2. My view is that no one need be homeless in Australia. The Federal Government should make all property available and cap rental costs. People should not pay more than 30% of their income in rent. I have suffered having to move countless times due to no fault of my own. Housing is vital to one’s safety and wellbeing.
  3. The Sydney electorate is a densely populated area, with Westconnex weather, we can however control our waste and emissions by choosing public transport instead of cars, doing everything we can to keep the air we breathe as clean as possible.
  4. My own opinion is that vacant property should be put to use by housing the homeless. Otherwise yes I do support a vacant property tax. Of course my own views don’t matter as I represent the people.

 

Geoffrey Winters    Liberal Party

The coalition recognizes the shortage of housing in Australia is a serious social issue and the impact it is having, particularly on families and lower income earners.

The Turnbull Government is committed to a strong new economy, with a focus on creating jobs for all Australians.  Having a strong economy will ensure all Australians who can work, can gain employment.

The Turnbull Government provides a strong and targeted safety net to support Australians who are not working, spending $158.6 billion in 2016-17 (35per cent of the total government Budget).  Our safety net provides income support, rent assistance, rent assistance, and employment service support to try and help people back into work as soon as possible.

Labor cut funding for homelessness in their last budget, failing to make any provision for National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness after 30 June 2014.

The Turnbull Government has not only restored this funding, we have extended funding for the NPAH providing $115 million a year to State and Territories for a further two years.

Housing density and property taxes are matters that are responsibility of the state and territory governments.