The Institute for the Study of Social Change has prepared a directions paper as a resource to inform the deliberations of the Tasmanian Housing Summit to be held on March 15 2018. The analysis draws on the University of Tasmania’s expertise in housing policy and builds on the Institute for the Study of Social Change’s recently released Blueprint for Improving Housing Outcomes in Tasmania.
The paper focuses on the situation in Greater Hobart, where recent population growth has been concentrated. From June 2006 to June 2016, 70 per cent of Tasmania’s population growth occurred in the Greater Hobart region, and eight of the ten ABS statistical regions with the largest population increases in Tasmania were within Greater Hobart. However, although the analysis focuses on Tasmania’s capital, many of the issues identified have relevance for the state as a whole.
Tasmania faces acute short-term housing challenges but the Institute believes that with a collaborative and evidence based approach we can address these challenges and achieve good housing outcomes which will deliver social and economic benefits for all Tasmanians.
“In the longer term we need a carefully planned, far-sighted strategy to ensure housing supply meets anticipated population growth,” said Institute for the Study of Social Change director Richard Eccleston. “One-off tax cuts and short-term grants might be popular, but there is little evidence they deliver meaningful outcomes.”
Directions for Tasmania’s Housing Future
The Institute proposes a two-pronged approach to the current housing shortage. Firstly, an immediate response to provide shelter to those in most need and secondly, policies and strategic investment to meet housing demand over the medium to longer term. An effective short term response to the immediate housing challenge will provide policy makers greater leeway to develop appropriate longer term strategies.
In the paper the Institute has detailed the rationale behind a series of recommendations including:
A crisis response to a housing crisis—
- Demountable housing on public land
- Vouchers for motel/hotel/short-term holiday accommodation
- An audit of vacant residential property in Tasmania’s cities
- Strategies to promote more efficient use of existing housing stock.
- Incentives for conversion of vacant residential properties into long-term housing
- A ‘pause’ strategy for approvals to convert entire properties to short-term holiday accommodation in key urban areas
A medium-term, planned approach to resolving a long-standing affordable housing shortfall—
- Long-term planning measures to ensure new housing in priority areas includes affordable housing
- Increased investment in the Affordable Housing Strategy (AHS) 2015-2025
- Repurposing of underutilised buildings, including offices
- Funding to enable a steady, real increase in social housing supply
- Replacement of property-related stamp duties with a broad-based annual property tax
- Increased investment by the University of Tasmania in student accommodation