The Queensland Government has pledged to build and acquire 53,500 social homes by 2046 amid a cost-of-living crisis.
Premier Steven Miles on Monday unveiled the bold $1.25 billion scheme as the latest reform in his Labor government’s long-term housing plan.
The scheme would ensure Queenslanders who can’t access a rental or afford to buy were given “safe, secure and affordable homes,” he said.
The latest announcement comes after Queensland emerged as “ground zero” of Australia’s cost-of-living crisis, with a study revealing Brisbane led the nation in rent, energy, insurance, and health price hikes.
“This is a really ambitious goal but we have got the money on the table to make sure that we significantly increase the amount of social housing we have in this state,” Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon said.
The government would aim to build thousands of social homes over the next five years, but the minister declined to quantify how many per year.
Construction delays, including high material costs and trade labour shortages, may affect the delivery target, she added.
“I want to be really clear though that (target) will be a little bit bumpy. We do need to scale up over time,” she said.
There are 1000 social homes currently under construction.
Ms Scanlon said the government would purchase homes, retirement villages, hotels and motels to try and meet the demand for social housing.
“We already have over 75,000 social homes but this target will effectively double the number of homes compared to the amount of applicants on the Social Housing Register,” she said.
Queensland Council of Social Service chief executive Aimee McVeigh welcomed the announcement but wanted the social housing target met.
“Right now there are women with newborn babies living in cars, there are families living in tents, and older women couch surfing,” she said.
There are 100,000 households currently in the state that need social housing, the minister added.
Meanwhile, the Opposition said the government had only built 220 homes a year over the past nine years and doubted their ability to deliver “10 times that amount” under the new scheme.
Shadow Housing Minister Tim Mander said six houses a day would have to be built under the government plan.
“All Labor has delivered is false hope and broken promises to Queenslanders in need,” he said in a statement.
“The social housing waitlist has ballooned to 43,000 Queenslanders.”
The LNP, if elected, lists among its priorities: delivering social housing projects on time and on budget.
(Australian Associated Press)