The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) condemns in the strongest possible terms the Morrison Coalition government’s Homebuilder Scheme.
The politically motivated $688 million scheme was opportunistically launched in the Eden Monaro seat during the by-election, an insult as it will do little to help the fire affected community rebuild. It falls way short of what is needed to support jobs and meet housing requirements for the community across the country. Housing is a right not a commodity.
There is only one thing that will create affordable housing and address the current housing crisis: “a revival of public housing and a revolution in how it is used”. Nothing but a massive and ongoing infusion of high-quality, publicly owned and managed housing of diverse types must replace the inefficiency and choking dominance of the unaffordable private market.
It is an imperative that the proposed Homebuilder scheme be redirected to the building of public housing. The current scheme announced by the PM is a sham policy, without Parliamentary approval with the stated aim of stimulating the private construction industry. The qualifying requirements for the grants are so poorly thought through that eligible applicants will be highly restricted. Many will be unable to get the highly publicised $25,000. Those most in need will not have $150,000 to spend on renovations. The scheme only runs for six months so it will eliminate many attempting to rebuild in bush fire areas. Also, six months is a tall order to get a planning and building approvals through any council.
This scheme does not attempt to challenge or eliminate homelessness in Australia. Every night tens of thousands of Australians sleep on the streets and this number continues to rise. How can this Homebuilder scheme even start to turn around the growing housing gap?
The CPA demands that existing and new housing developments be taken over by government and turned into public housing projects urgently needed in all states and territories. This will require billions of dollars of public investment. It will create much needed well paid jobs to alleviate the precarious conditions which the market forces of capitalism have delivered to too many people.
Post pandemic, the government must take up the responsibility of lifting the country out of the recession. Only a public sector-led recovery can provide for the interests of workers and their families. Housing construction is one way to create jobs creation while also providing community benefit. Other measures include building public schools and hospitals, staffing and equipping them adequately, research and development of renewable energy sources, and providing the necessary funding that is required to save the tens of thousands of jobs that are at stake in our universities. There is a pressing need to provide such infrastructure to remote Indigenous communities.
The CPA demands universal accessible public housing and the redirection of the Homebuilder scheme to the building publicly owned and managed housing as a matter of urgency.
The CPA also demands the sales of public land, public housing and public sector work be stopped, and government funds be directed to maintenance work on existing public housing stock.
The CPA calls on government at all levels and the opposition to involve the community, unions and advocacy groups currently dealing with the housing crisis to find an adequate solution to the housing crisis.
CPA Central Committee