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Question: Affordable Housing

3 May 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the Hon. Clare Scriven, the minister representing the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, on the topic of public housing in South Australia.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Last week, Anglicare released their annual Rental Affordability Snapshot of 2022. Their report shows that in Greater Adelaide only two rentals are affordable and appropriate for a single person on the minimum wage—just two. In regional and rural South Australia, none of the available homes are affordable for a single person without dependents living on income support. The new Malinauskas government has committed to building just 400 new public homes with the next state budget, yet the waitlist for social housing is 16,000 people.


My question to the minister is: does the minister concede that just 400 new homes across the state and just 150 in the regions is well short of what is required to address South Australia's housing affordability crisis?


The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I thank the honourable member for his question. Of course, his question highlights the awful record of the previous Marshall Liberal government over the last four years in terms of addressing housing affordability and the rental crisis that we have.


Both whilst I was in opposition and also since as minister, I spent a lot of time in regional South Australia, and I live in regional South Australia myself. It has been absolutely devastating to witness people living in their cars, people living in caravans, people couch surfing, and we have seen even homelessness services having to provide tents as a housing alternative because under the previous Liberal government there were so few steps taken to address the housing affordability crisis and in particular the rental affordability crisis.


In contrast, Labor's election commitments included more than $180 million in new funding to the South Australian Housing Trust and to our homelessness services. On 25 April, Labor announced $6 million in additional funding for critical inner-city homelessness services: the Hutt St Centre, St Vincent De Paul and Catherine House. Of course, those services had lost funding under the previous Liberal government's so-called reforms.


Our commitment does include 400 new homes, including 150 homes in regional areas, and also 350 empty homes being brought back to an appropriate standard, and a maintenance blitz of 3,000 public housing properties. The South Australian Housing Trust, I am advised, has also already identified properties in regional areas to benefit from upgrades and maintenance. The total additional spending in regional areas will be tens of millions of dollars. This will support local jobs while providing safe and affordable housing in our regional areas.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Supplementary: I note the minister's response. Does she therefore acknowledge that 400 new homes is simply not enough, and will she be advocating for more funding in the Malinauskas budget?


The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): As I mentioned, there are also commitments in regard to bringing back houses to appropriate standards and maintenance on public housing properties. However, I will refer the member's question to the responsible minister in the other place and bring back a reply, if there is further information to add.