Today hundreds of Canberra locals, the CFMEU, the Greens and independent senators have gathered with a clear message to the government, take the housing crisis seriously, cap rents and invest the money we need to tackle the housing crisis.
The Greens are standing with the millions of people Labor’s plan will leave behind, renters, low income households, those waiting decades for social housing - and we won’t back down until Labor agrees to take this housing crisis seriously.
Labor’s plan to gamble $10 billion of public money on Peter Costello’s Future Fund, which last year would have lost $120 million, is an insult to the millions of people in this country in desperate need of an affordable home.
We need public and affordable housing now, but the Government’s current plan won’t start delivering any homes or funding until 2025 because it relies on a gamble on the stock market, but the Greens are willing and ready to work with the Government to pass a plan that invests billions of dollars right now in building public housing and freezes rents right now.
If Labor can find $368 billion for nuclear submarines in the budget, then they must be able to find $5 billion a year for public, community and affordable housing and agree to a national freeze on rent increases.
The Greens have proved with Safeguard, NRF and other pieces of government legislation that we can negotiate in good faith, and we’re fully prepared to do that with housing, but we won’t accept Labor’s “our way or the highway” approach on a housing plan that will make the crisis worse and does nothing for renters.
It’s morally repugnant for the Government to suggest that if the Greens don’t support Labor’s $10 billion gamble on the stock market then somehow future social housing won’t be built, when at any time they could spend money out of the budget on social and affordable housing.
Over the next month we are going to knock on tens of thousands of doors around the country, hold more rallies and make clear to the government they must act on the housing crisis and do something for renters.
Labor has nothing to lose here, but so much to gain. Seizing this moment of national unity and agreeing to invest billions in a bold, big housing plan and put rent caps on the agenda would be a legacy moment for the government, and enormously popular.