An all hands to the wheel approach is needed to combat Brisbane’s growing housing and homelessness crisis.
With mothers and children sleeping in cars after fleeing domestic violence situations and thousands more being squeezed out of an increasingly tight rental market, Brisbane City Council Labor Opposition Leader Jared Cassidy said more had to be done to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
“What people have to understand is that all over this city, there are women with young children sleeping in cars and couch surfing with little or no hope of finding a place of their own.
“Having a roof over your head is a fundamental right of us all.
“What kind of society do we live in when people are simply allowed to fall through the cracks and then sadly, become a statistic.”
Cr Cassidy said the first concrete step LNP Mayor Adrian Schrinner could do was increase the number of homelessness officers employed by council.
It has been revealed that Brisbane City Council has more golf course officers than it does homelessness officers.
Cr Cassidy said the figure was further proof that LNP Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner had gone missing in action over the crippling issues of housing and homelessness.
“There has been no sign of a housing strategy despite being directed by the State Government back in 2019 to do so. Apart from a discussion paper in 2019, he’s done nothing.
“It’s no secret, Brisbane is facing a housing crisis. So, what can we do? Council has the tools at its disposal to help but it’s dragging its feet.
“There’s so much more that Council can do to ease the pressure on Brisbane residents.
“Like partnering with housing providers to increase stock, giving infrastructure charge discounts for affordable housing, and practical zoning changes could all make a real difference.
“Unfortunately, Adrian Schrinner and the current LNP Council have their priorities all wrong.
“We’ve seen house prices and rents soar. In some suburbs there’s annual property price increases of 30% and over 20% for rentals. It’s not uncommon to hear of weekly rent increases of $150 at the end of each lease.
“Families, individuals and our most vulnerable are being made homeless. There are 50,000 people and families waiting on the social housing register, south-east Queensland or Queensland wide.”
Cr Cassidy said the quickest and simplest thing Brisbane City Council can do to help affordable housing providers deliver new rental stock is infrastructure charge discounts.
“Tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure charge discounts have been gifted by this LNP Council over recent years, but not one cent of that has gone to housing providers. In fact most of it has gone to private developers building 5-star hotels.”
“Brisbane has an amazing success story called the Brisbane Housing Company. Founded in 2002 by the Labor Council and State Government, the initial seed funding has been transformed into $350m worth of affordable rental stock totalling 1700 units of housing.
“It’s this kind of action, this type of project that makes a real difference to peoples’ lives and it’s in Labor’s DNA to make a difference in these areas.”
Cr Cassidy applauded the decision by the State Government to allow homeowners to rent secondary dwellings for the next three years under emergency planning changes expected to house thousands of Queenslanders.
Labor Opposition Leader Jared Cassidy wants Brisbane City Council to do more to address the lack of housing and homelessness crisis.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Planning Steven Miles said the changes, suggested by stakeholders at the recent Queensland Housing Roundtable, will remove restrictions on people who can live in secondary dwellings.
“Many homeowners have granny flats that they’ve built or converted for family members or teenagers who have since moved out,” Mr Miles said.
“Right now, most homeowners can’t rent secondary dwellings, such as granny flats, to anyone other than their immediate family.
“At the same time some Queenslanders are sleeping in their cars or in tents.
“It just makes sense to allow existing accommodation to be occupied by someone other than a relative to provide more affordable accommodation for Queenslanders.
“It also allows homeowners to earn rent, helping them meet the increased cost of living.
“We can move people in to underutilised granny flats much more quickly than constructing new properties.”