Federal-state wrangle over Qld housing

Fraser Barton and Marty SilkAAP
The Queensland and federal governments blame each other for a shortfall in social housing.
Camera IconThe Queensland and federal governments blame each other for a shortfall in social housing. Credit: AAP

The Queensland and federal governments are trading blows over the state's housing after another damning report.

The Queensland Council of Social Services says more than 50,000 households are currently on the waiting list for social housing.

It's new report warns the list could grow by 10,000 if the federal government proceeds with plans to scrap the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

"Women and children are returning to domestic violence situations and living in cars with newborns because there is nowhere else to go," QCOSS chief executive Amy McVeigh said.

"We need more homes."

The report also said the Commonwealth's 2023 funding of $1.6 billion for homelessness and social and Indigenous housing would be $1.1 billion lower, in real terms, than its funding in 2013.

QCOSS urged the next federal government to immediately fund 5000 social housing dwellings per year in Queensland.

It also called for an increase to commonwealth rent assistance, a rental subsidy scheme and a national strategy to address the housing crisis.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government had provided funding for 15,000 social and affordable homes through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.

"State public housing is exactly that, it's run by the state government and that's why we provide funds to them to support them," he told ABC Radio on Thursday.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick seized on the QCOSS report, blaming the Commonwealth's funding cuts for the state's housing crisis.

"That is the legacy of the Morrison government," he said.

"The Morrison government, the Turnbull government and the Abbott government, they have consistently withdrawn funding from social housing. There is no way that states can fill that gap.

"We have done the heavy lifting, we put $2.9 billion into a social and affordable housing program."

Mr Dick also said scrapping NRAS forces more Queenslanders out of their homes and onto the housing waiting list.

"We live in those communities, people like the premier and myself, we know how dependent our communities are on social housing," he said.

However, a federal government spokesperson said the NRAS was a failed program plagued by administrative issues, and federal Labor was also planning to ditch it.

The prime minister said the main problem was the Queensland government's failure to fulfil its home-building targets and release land for more social and affordable housing.

"I mean the best way to get more houses is to build more houses, and so I would encourage the planning authorities work closely with the local community to ensure they get those decisions right," Mr Morrison said.

"But we need more houses built, the more houses there are, the less pressure there is on housing prices."

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