ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: Stimulus - focus on low-income and housing action

5 March 2020

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) is urging the ACT Government to prioritise investment in social housing infrastructure when proposing to the federal government new measures to stimulate the economy. The federal government has written to state and territory governments, seeking projects as part of its economic stimulus package and asking for infrastructure to be prioritised.

ACTCOSS is also calling for energy efficiency adjustments to homes of people with low incomes to form part of the economic stimulus response in the ACT.

ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “The federal and ACT governments need to take timely and comprehensive action to stimulate the economy, and they can effectively do so while dealing with key challenges holding our economy and society back – poverty, homelessness and climate change.

“The need for action on affordable, energy efficient housing is urgent given that there are currently no affordable and appropriate private rental properties in the ACT for people receiving Newstart, Youth Allowance, Disability Support Pension, or Parenting Payment (single). Private rental is also unaffordable for people working in low-paid and insecure work.

“With low-income households in the ACT either locked out of the private rental market or experiencing rental stress, government investment in social housing is essential to avoid deepening and entrenching disadvantage and homelessness in the ACT.”

ACTCOSS has welcomed investments through the ACT Housing Strategy in public housing, but there is a need for a more deliberate focus to grow social housing which could form part of an economic stimulus response in the ACT.

Dr Campbell said: “Investment in social housing would provide lasting social benefit while stimulating the economy. For every dollar invested, direct public investment in social housing is estimated to boost GDP by $1.30.

“Over summer we witnessed how climate change can drive and entrench disadvantage. To reduce emissions, cut energy bills and create jobs, we also call for the federal government to fund the ACT Government, social housing providers and community organisations to improve energy efficiency in low-income households.”

ACOSS briefing note: How to reduce homelessness and boost incomes and jobs: Social housing as infrastructure (pdf)

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.