Long View Reasons To Build Public Housing Now

a set of abandoned two story public houses
Abandoned public housing block in Fremantle photo by perthhdproductions is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Unable to make a long term commitment, Australia has frittered away most of its public housing both by selling it off and through neglect.

A new book, “Housing Policy In Australia” calls for a national housing program and building more social housing. This is a direction the current government has stubbornly resisted.

The authors support their argument partly by taking a long view. They note the high numbers of today’s working age people who are paying high rents. High rental payments means less savings for retirement. Less savings for retirement will mean political pressure to increase public pensions and more housing support down the road. Adding to the social housing stock now will reduce these long term effects.

Politicians tend to be much more concerned with the present, with a long term view looking as far as the next election. The authors of the book argue that this may be changing and cite concerns about climate change as a case in point.

The long term nature of housing means that today’s decisions will have long term effects. Whether there is any change at the political level or not, we are well advised to bear the long term in mind.

“Housing Policy In Australia” covers much more, including policy changes to arrest rising housing costs. Some of these are discussed in an article published by the book’s authors in The Conversation: Australia’s Housing System Needs A Big Shake-Up: Here’s How We Can Crack This

The Australian national government continues to shun social housing as part of its COVID-19 recovery strategy, even though it is widely recommended by expert economists there. You can read more on this subject in The Conversation: Social housing was one hell of a missed budget opportunity, but there’s time

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