On Monday 19 June 2023, I made a speech in Federal Parliament calling on the government to make a real commitment to addressing the housing crisis, and to treat it as the crisis it is by delivering a crisis response. You can watch the speech here or read the full transcript below.
E WATSON-BROWN: For months now the Labor government has told us that there was no money for direct spending on housing. Well, over the weekend it was revealed that that was a lie. They announced $2 billion in new housing spending. This has come about only because of the sustained pressure from the Greens and the enormous on-the-ground effort of more than 500 volunteers. To each and every person who gave up a weekend afternoon to go and knock on a stranger's door, you did this. This is your victory. It would not have happened without the mammoth effort and the confidence it has given us that everyday people are on our side.
But the fight isn't over. This backflip from the government shows that the government can in fact fund things when it wants to, it can directly invest billions in housing whenever it wants, and it can coordinate a national freeze on rents. We still have a shortage of 640,000 social and affordable homes. A $2 billion one-off spend will not begin to tackle this waiting list. We need a real commitment for direct spending every year. Millions of renters in this country are one rent increase away from eviction. This is a crisis, and we need a crisis-level response. If we can do it during the pandemic, we can do it now.