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posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 09, @01:38PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

There's a new bill before federal parliament calling for housing to be considered a fundamental human right.

The bill, introduced by independent federal parliamentarians Kylea Tink and David Pocock, would require the government to create a 10-year National Housing and Homelessness Plan.

One part of the bill states housing should be considered a fundamental human right for all Australians. Here's how this would work.

Since its election in 2022, the Albanese government has had to fight political battles to pass its housing policies.

This includes the Housing Australia Future Fund: a $10 billion fund to provide an annual $500 million for social and affordable rental housing. It passed the parliament last year.

There's also the "Help to Buy" shared equity scheme. Under this scheme, 10,000 households a year would be eligible for a government equity contribution of up to 40% of the purchase price of a new home. It's yet to pass the parliament.

But many in the community continue to struggle with unaffordable rents, barriers to home ownership and rising rates of homelessness.

Housing and homelessness problems are complex because they crossover different areas of policy and different levels of government. There are many agencies that do housing policy.

But so far, the government has not had a clear plan. Its election promise to develop a National Housing and Homelessness Plan is still under development. And at the moment, it does not appear to be addressing important policy areas like tax and finance.

[...] Tink and Pocock have also taken up our research and turned it into the National Housing and Homelessness Plan Bill.

The bill would require the housing minister of the day to develop and implement a ten year National Housing and Homelessness Plan. This would mean taking a view of housing policy beyond three-year election cycles.

The legislation would also set some basic directions for the government's plan, including "ensuring that everyone in Australia has adequate housing," and "preventing and ending homelessness." This reflects the legislation's human rights-based approach.

The legislation would also require the housing minister to be collaborative and establish some new sources of information and advice for government. This includes a "consumer council," including people with experience of homelessness. This would operate alongside the existing National Housing Supply and Affordability Council: an independent group providing the government with expert advice. The consumer council would be able to escalate matters directly to the minister to ensure it's heard.

The existing government agency Housing Australia would be nominated as the lead agency assisting the minister with the plan. A new government officer, the National Housing and Homelessness Advocate, would independently investigate housing policy issues and monitor the progress against the plan. The housing minister would also be required to periodically report to parliament on progress.

At the end of the ten years, the minister would be required to review and develop a new plan.

Importantly, it would still be for the government of the day to decide what's in the plan. The legislation sets objectives and directions, but not policy details. The legislation does not say, for example, "thou shalt repeal negative gearing"! One government might devise a more market-orientated plan, while another might plan for greater non-market housing provision.

[...] The bill formally recognizes housing as a human right for two reasons.

First, it serves as the constitutional basis for the legislation. The right to adequate housing is a human right under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Australia ratified almost 50 years ago.

This brings it within the parliament's "external affairs" power. The parliament relied on this power and the human right to housing when it passed the original legislation establishing the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (now Housing Australia). Basically, it gives the government the legal authority to make such a plan.

Secondly, an effective plan that's going to work across different policy areas and bring in the range of institutions needs a place to start. Human rights provides a way to organize the policy across all the different branches of government that need to be involved.

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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday July 11, @02:47AM (3 children)

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Thursday July 11, @02:47AM (#1363718) Journal

    Start from the top. No corporation is allowed to own single-family or small (size of "small" TBD) residential properties, period, full stop: owners of the same must be individual humans. This alone will do wonders for the housing situation.

    Then unfuck the zoning laws. It's clear the residential zoning categories exist mostly to ease white flight from the cities; they turn into a real dog-in-the-manger situation once a plat is filled up with those hideous fucking cookie-cutter McMansions. Goddess almighty forbid we build anything like dense apartment housing!

    Get the best civil engineers and urban planners you have *specifically from low-income and racial minority backgrounds.* These are the people who have actual, high-minded reasons to fix things, not just some airy pie-in-the-sky philanthropic impulse, or worse, a base desire to make money off taxpayers while providing less than the bare minimum. They have seen what works and what does not, and have lived in it, mostly the latter.

    Get them involved not just in designing healthy, functional buildings, but in actual urban planning: accompany the housing with a neighborhood's worth of social services and amenities, including at least one grocery store, one pharmacy, and one urgent care center, and make sure a bus route runs to and from on a regular basis. Make sure there's also a drug detox clinic and at least one mental health crisis center too, and that all these entities are coordinating with one another and with the local hospital(s). And don't just make it some brutalist concrete hellscape; make sure there's trees planted regularly and some green space. Encourage community initiatives, especially things like community gardens and tool-swapping/sharing meets.

    The solutions to this are not technological or logistical; they are moral. The problem is the people who need a permanent suffering underclass to feel superior to, and to use to browbeat their subordinates with (i.e., "do you wanna be like THEM? No? Then shut the fuck up and work harder!").

    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday July 11, @11:15PM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 11, @11:15PM (#1363834) Journal

    build anything like dense apartment housing

    Personally, I hated living like that for more than half on my life.

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday July 13, @05:36AM (1 child)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 13, @05:36AM (#1363958) Journal

    No corporation is allowed to own single-family or small (size of "small" TBD) residential properties,

    Is a corporation allowed to build such housing? Will it be illegal for a bank to repo such a property as the collateral on a defaulted loan? Because in those situations they will own it until they sell it. Second, what problems really exist with corporate-owned small residential properties? They don't own most such real estate in the first place.

    • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Saturday July 13, @01:45PM

      by deimtee (3272) on Saturday July 13, @01:45PM (#1363974) Journal

      It should be illegal for a bank to come into possession of a property via defaulting on a loan. In fact I think it might be in Australia. The correct way is for the bank to get a court order for the Sheriff to take possession of the house and to sell it at auction. The bank gets paid only what they are owed and the rest, if any, goes back to the owners.

      If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.