Pat Congahan calls on Albanese Government to form a National Housing Summit

FEDERAL Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan has called on the Albanese Government to form a National Housing Summit.

Mr Congahan said issues of homelessness, rental stress and mortgage stress are ever increasing across regional Australia.

“The flow-on effect of city dwellers being priced out of the metro market, coupled with the greater ability to work remotely, has regions like my electorate of Cowper on the Mid North Coast at breaking point,” Mr Conaghan said.

“We are seeing increases in regional populations at unprecedented rates, which is driving up regional property prices and rents to levels well outside the reach of the average family.

“This isn’t only affecting our most vulnerable, it’s affecting full-time working mums and dads, the young and the old.

“The increased demand has seen vacancy rates hit an all-time low, with the level of competition on every property now at a frenzy.”

Mr Conghan said at its core the issue boils down to “supply and demand”, and said all levels of government need to work together to remove red tape and quickly increase housing stock.

Nationals leader David Littleproud has been travelling through Cowper this week on the party’s ‘Listening Tour’, and has heard from locals suffering the impact of the housing crisis in the region.

“Housing has continually been noted as one of the biggest issues facing regional Australians,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The financial, mental and emotional stress as a result is untenable.

“I’ve heard from displaced youth unable to afford accommodation close to educational facilities who are forced to travel for hours a day just to go to class, to single mothers cramming multiple children into small apartments.

“And then there are our already vulnerable, with older single women being hit particularly hard.

“This cannot continue.

“We need to push for tangible solutions and we need to do it now.”

Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness Julie Collins told News Of The Area a decade of inaction by the former Liberal-National Government had left Australia with serious housing challenges across the country.

“The Albanese Government understands safe and affordable housing is central to the security and dignity of all Australians.

“We want every Australian to have the security of having a roof over their head.

“Which is why we have an ambitious housing reform agenda to address these challenges.”

While Ms Collins did not comment on the likelihood of a National Housing Summit, she said the Government would widen the remit of the National Housing Infrastructure Facility, making up to $575 million available to invest in social and affordable housing.

“This will support the Albanese Labor Government’s commitment to build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties, through the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund.”

In working towards a collaborative National Housing and Homelessness Plan, Ms Collins has met twice with state and territory Housing Ministers, something she claims didn’t happen for almost five years under the former Government.

“We will also continue to work collaboratively to introduce a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council, to ensure the Commonwealth plays a leadership role in increasing housing supply and improving housing affordability.”

Housing was a key feature of the recent Jobs and Skills Summit, with more than 100 roundtables held prior to the Summit in communities across the country.

Housing affordability has also been discussed by the Prime Minister and Premiers and Chief Ministers at National Cabinet.

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