Q Shelter develops policy and investment submissions through consideration of evidence, as well as information, ideas and opinions gathered through stakeholder engagement. Our staff team and management committee are inclusive of people with expertise and experience relevant to all aspects of delivering housing supply solutions and homelessness responses. As such, Q Shelter’s framework for developing policy and investment submissions reflects the following key elements:
This submission has been developed through ongoing engagement with Q Shelter CEO and Leaders’ Forum, Regional Representatives’ Forum and through specialised events focused on preparations for the Queensland Housing Summit, including:
- Meeting with Q Shelter Housing Round Table inclusive of CHPs, housing experts and private and not-for-profit peak associations (16 participants)
- Stakeholder online workshop with Q Shelter members and stakeholders (78 participants)
- Workshop with people with lived experience of housing need and homelessness (8 participants)
- Analysis of written input from stakeholders after the announcement of the summit.
Q Shelter published a report outlining measures to also support a positive legacy from Brisbane 2032. Additionally, policy and investment ideas have been substantiated by research into unmet need for housing, and consideration of policy and investment solutions across comparable jurisdictions.
The current policy context
It is important to acknowledge a range of federal and state policy settings as the context for future housing and homelessness responses in Queensland.
It is important to note and leverage the following:
- Federal Government policy and investment (see Treasury, 2022, Improving Housing Supply and Affordability) in:
- The establishment of the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund to provide a sustainable funding source to increase housing supply and improve service delivery. This fund will seek to leverage funding and capital from State Governments and private financial institutions to deliver 30,000 new social and affordable homes.
- A Housing Accord to achieve enhanced collaboration and coordination across levels of government and with other key stakeholders with a target of 1,000,000 homes in the five years from 2024.
- $350 million in funding for affordable housing.
- The development of a new national housing and homelessness action plan.
- Negotiation of the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement with the States.
- The establishment of the National Supply and Affordability Council to advise Government.
- Queensland State Government Housing Strategy, Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021-2025, and Queensland Housing Summit Report.
- Queensland Government’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Action Plan which will be renewed from 2023.
- Queensland Government’s Youth Housing Action Plan.
- Recently released Communities 2032 framework including an action plan outlining a range of measures intended to reduce isolation and disadvantage.
Importantly, the Queensland Housing Summit drew together all levels of government, all major political parties, the private sector, and not-for-profit sector, to examine solutions to housing need and homelessness. A renewed focus on the health of the whole housing system is vitally important to create a context where the needs of people reliant on social and affordable housing can be met.
The Summit has built upon the 2021 Budget that announced a new Housing Investment Fund, capital funding for growth projects, and additional measures to access properties through the private rental market. As a result of the Summit, the HIF has been doubled and new funding for immediate housing and support responses has been offered.
It is also important to acknowledge the Federal Government has announced budget measures and reforms that will create opportunities for increased supply in social and affordable housing in Queensland. Combined with Local Government activity to facilitate Housing Action Plans, the level of engagement and activity to achieve a healthy housing system in Queensland establishes a new operating environment. Much-needed planning system reforms are being investigated by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning. These reforms are important for ensuring enough housing supply to meet demand, and scope for the inclusion of social and affordable housing in new developments.
It is important to point out that measures are also under implementation to build system capacity and leadership to respond. These include:
- Enhanced capacity-building support for community housing providers, through programs funded and supported by Queensland Treasury
- An expanded role for the Queensland Housing Supply Expert Panel
- A strengthened remit for Economic Development Queensland (EDQ)
- A new Housing Delivery Board inclusive of Directors’ General who will carry responsibility for ensuring the Housing Summit Report actions are implemented.
- An extensive audit of land and property and an improved gateway to engage with Government about supply opportunities.
- An ongoing Housing Round Table involving diverse key stakeholders.
Q Shelter continues to maintain a strong working relationship with the Minister for Communities and Housing and with the Department of Communities, Housing, and Digital Economy. But increasingly, given both the size of the challenge and the complex nature of the policy responses, is working right across government to secure broad support for solutions.
Q Shelter commends the Summit process including the new level of integration involving key and central State agencies. The Department of the Premier and Cabinet led the Housing Summit process, which has also helped to bring significant profile to the challenge while facilitating leaders across systems to consider their respective roles in solutions.
As such, Q shelter’s 2023-2024 Policy and Investment Framework reflects this new context while also articulating further policy and investment measures to support success.
Current and future needs and trends
Available data on need and demand helped achieve momentum for the Queensland Housing Summit. Some additional or updated data sources have emerged since the Summit. Important trends are driving the need to consider the health of the whole housing system as a basis for ensuring vulnerable Queenslanders have a home. This section acknowledges trends and issues that drive housing need and homelessness. Included is a summary of data from the most recent Census of Population and Housing as well as the Rental Affordability Index.
In later 2022, Q Shelter hosted a webinar with Saul Eslake (see Towards a Healthy Housing System and Why Social Housing isn’t Enough on its Own) highlighting why a whole-of-housing system approach is needed and why investment in social housing alone, isn’t enough to address unmet need. This summary of policy trends and issues is drawn from this presentation and various other sources to demonstrate wider system elements driving need in Queensland:
- Housing wealth is a significant proportion of all household wealth with in-built drivers urging property price increases.
- Home ownership has fallen 6.6% since 1966 (a continuing trend according to the most recent ABS Census of Population and Housing).
- Home ownership rates have declined more significantly in younger age groups (<45 years).
- Home ownership rates by income groups have declined most sharply in quintiles three and four forcing more people into the rental market who may be out-competing people in the lowest income quintiles.
- Policies such as negative gearing that inflate housing demand and therefore prices have negative impacts on home ownership opportunities for people across a growing span of income levels.
- The share of housing finance to investors increased more than to first home buyers.
- The increased cost of houses and mortgages will likely impact retirement wealth and income.
- Poorly targeted first home-owner grants have possibly contributed to inflationary pressure on house prices rather than to affordability and access.
- Rising mortgage costs may be driving some decline in house prices however rising interest rates are also reducing the amount that is loaned contributing to a reduction in people successfully entering home ownership.
- The structure and regulatory framework of the private rental market means that renters are vulnerable to insecurity of tenure and unaffordable rent increases. This is impacted by the structure of the rental market predominantly involving individual investors rather than institutional investors.
- Household size is reducing. This means that current housing supply is less able to meet population demand. The trend towards smaller household size including an increasing number of people living alone is expected to continue.
Specific evidence of need and demand in Queensland includes:
- Significant net inward migration estimated to be 200,000+ people by the Property Council (2022). In the five years to 2021, Queensland experienced the greatest net migration of any State (107,500 people) (ABS, 2022).
- There is an increasing reliance on private rental housing with a growing proportion of Queensland’s population reliant on renting as a form of tenure (ABS, 2022).
- Rental vacancy rates are at historical lows in most population centres in Queensland causing more households to be unable to find a rental property while also causing significant price increases (see REIQ, 2022).
- Mortgage stress is increasing with potentially greater demand on the private rental market as people move out of home purchasing.
- A decline of 40% in first home-owner loans in Queensland to March 2022.
- An increase in the value of loans to first homeowners in Queensland to March 2022 (10%) and growth in the proportion of incomes directed to mortgage repayments (11% growth).
- There is a reduction in the number of homes in the private rental market of approximately 20,000 homes during and since COVID (see Marty Silk, 20 October 2022, ‘Housing Summit Told of Missing 20,000 rental homes’)
- The Rental Affordability Index also shows the unaffordability of renting for many households with pressures on certain population groups such as young people and older people (summary data is included in Appendix 2).
- Growth in supply of social and affordable housing has not kept pace with demand (0.3% annual growth rather than 6.5-7.5% required).
Analysis of the national Census of Population and Housing from 2021 demonstrates significant current unmet need for housing representing people who are homeless, and people in the lowest two income quintiles whose housing is unaffordable to them (summary tables are included in Appendix 1). A recent report by UNSW also projects future need and this data is presented as an attachment analysed by LGA in Queensland.