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Bold plan to prioritise affordable homes for Tasmanians

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Sunday, 17 December 2017

Tags: Social and Affordable Housing

Cassy O'Connor MP

Air BNB short stay accommodation will be restricted to Tasmanian owner operators, ensuring interstate and overseas investors won’t profit at the expense of locals, under the first of the Tasmanian Greens’ housing policy initiatives launched today.

Recent ABS Census data indicates there may be as many as 6552 more Tasmanian properties on the short stay market compared with 2011. We are hearing repeated stories of long term tenants being told they’ll have to move on because their landlord is converting their home into an Air BNB. For Tasmanians needing a home, there is no question Air BNB is making their search harder.

Air BNB is an important part of our visitor accommodation mix, but with rental demand in Hobart the second highest in the country, there needs to be a balance and we are concerned the rapid growth in Air BNB is shutting Tasmanians out of the housing market, both as buyers and renters.

The Greens will restrict Air BNB to local owner operators with a one-year phase in, allowing interstate and overseas investors to divest and releasing more homes into the local market.

We will also implement a permanent Stamp Duty exemption for first home buyers, giving more Tasmanians the opportunity to make their dream of home ownership a reality.

To ease the squeeze on the rental market, we will implement a vacancy tax similar to Victoria’s current model. Homes left vacant for more than six months in the greater Hobart area will be subject to the tax.

While a growing number of local individuals and families are struggling to find an affordable rental property, we need to ensure homes are made available to those who need them.

The Greens also recognize the compelling argument to make provision for affordable homes in new housing developments.

We will establish a statutory authority, Plan Tasmania, that works with Housing Tasmania to coordinate affordable housing development and the creation of mixed communities in urban areas where housing availability and affordability are key concerns.

We will regulate to ensure a proportion of affordable housing in any major new housing developments, increasing the supply of affordable housing to both buy and rent over time.

Plan Tasmania will administer a fund to invest in public transport infrastructure, amenities and recreational facilities with the goal of creating vibrant, mixed communities.

The Greens will also top up the Housing Fund by $10 million per annum, giving Housing Tasmania the extra resources it needs to do what it does best – build secure, energy efficient and affordable homes for Tasmanians in need.

Access to secure, affordable housing is a basic human right.  It is the foundation for individual and family wellbeing, and the key to education, training and employment.

The current situation is unsustainable and it’s unfair on people looking for an affordable home.  We can do better as a State.

Prioritising homes for all Tasmanians should be a focus of all parties contesting this next State election.