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We appreciate the opportunity to raise issues on housing affordability in Australia and note that your terms of reference raise the following specific issues:
• the taxes and levies imposed by state and territory governments;
• the rate of release of new land by state and territory governments;
• proposed assistance for first home owners by state, territory and the Commonwealth governments and their effectiveness in the absence of increased supply;
• the role of all levels of government in facilitating affordable home ownership;
• the effect on the market of government intervention in the housing sector including planning and industrial relations laws; • the role of financial institutions in home lending; and
• the contribution of home ownership to retirement incomes.
We note that in large measure your terms of reference focus on issues of housing supply such as rates and levies and rates of land release as well as the question of the contribution home ownership makes to retirement incomes. In our evidence we wish to address these themes and would note that while these issues are usually considered with respect to their impact on the broader population or conventionally defined groups such as first home buyers the inability to gain access to home ownership and the unaffordability of much housing has a more profound impact on some groups within society including women, the aged, and persons affected by a disability. It is also important to develop an aggregate picture of different levels of housing need and what that means for entry to home ownership. This submission will focus on the following specific issues:
• The aggregate picture of housing need and the role of entry to home ownership; (Baker)
• Access to home ownership for persons affected by a disability; (Beer)
• Women and access to home ownership (Tually);
• The contribution of housing to post retirement incomes (Faulkner);
• The role of the First Home Owners Grant and home ownership rates (Beer).
Much of the material presented today and discussed within this paper comes from our recent research including a report on housing and women (Tually, S. Beer, A. and Faulkner, D. 2007 Too Big to Ignore: The Future of Housing for Women to 2025, Southern Research Centre, Adelaide); and our work on National Research Venture 2: 21st Century Housing Careers and Australiaís Housing Future. The final report for this latter work will be published this year by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. Much of the data presented here is drawn from the Housing 21 Survey, a survey of housing needs and preferences that is representative at the State/Territory level and was undertaken in late 2006 and early 2007 (See Appendix A). 2