Editorial | March 7, 2022 | The Examiner

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Over the past two years, governments have proven that when the need for sudden intervention arises – whether to increase JobSeeker, introduce JobKeeper or introduce subsidy programs for businesses – the levers are there to be pulled. Such policies were necessary to prevent the collapse of the economy. All they needed was a real will from governments to make things happen – to get everyone around the table, to define clear results to be achieved and firm policies that would ensure that these results were achieved whatever let it happen. As a result, the Australian economy remained relatively unscathed. Can this kind of thinking now be applied to other parts of society where there is a clear and demonstrated need for change? READ MORE: Greyhound coach may have ‘no case to answer’ over welfare complaint In Tasmania, it’s clear that a lack of affordable and social housing is causing widespread damage that is spreading then extend to other parts of society, such as the health system. Similar outcome-based thinking could be set up with a clear concept at its heart: that housing is a human right and that every Tasmanian who wants housing has access to it. The government has taken action in this area over the past few years, setting a target of 3,500 additional social and affordable housing units by 2027 and then another 6,500 by 2032. This is obviously commendable compared to past targets. Adjusting other policy settings, such as introducing measures to encourage the release of more land for housing and the introduction of Housing Tasmania, are part of the approach to these goals. READ MORE: Road carnage wreaks havoc on wildlife volunteers Yet the government is facing problems on multiple fronts: Without federal changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax breaks, there will be little downward pressure on prices – or rents – and first and foremost landlords will remain excluded from investors. Another problem is the number of applicants on the housing register which stood at 4,355 in January, which has remained stable since a peak of 4,500 in October. These are people who need housing now, not five years from now when 3,500 are supposed to be built – less than the applications on the waiting list to start with. And this figure is not static. As rental costs continue to rise, more will be added to the waiting list. Medium and long term goals are all very good, but without immediate action they might not solve the problems 100% anyway. READ MORE: Launceston public ‘frustrated’ with staged mask takedowns As immediate action comes, stronger controls on short-term accommodation in major centers have long been debated, but Airbnb listings of properties integers continue to be added. The potential for a vacant property tax has been highlighted by data showing hundreds – and potentially thousands – of empty residential properties in Hobart and Launceston. Both of these measures could put immediate downward pressure on waiting lists. But this requires political courage and will. The Victorian government’s attempt to introduce a social housing tax on housing estates prompted an immediate campaign from developers, and the idea was withdrawn given that it is an election year. This does not mean that bold reform should not be considered. If ‘housing as a human right’ is the core policy, then all stakeholders should expect it to be the primary goal of government – ​​and all should be on board to make it happen. Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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