The affordable housing crisis is costing Queensland business billions, so what can we do?
In a follow up chat with Dr Greg Usher from Housing All Australians, we find out more about what the social and economic costs are when there’s a lack of affordable housing.
Lack of affordable housing will cost Queensland businesses billions of dollars in lost productivity this year, and failure to act will only see that figure increase annually.
A new economic study, Give Me Shelter, commissioned by the business-led, not-for-profit, Housing All Australians (HAA), shows that decades of under-investment by successive state and federal governments has seen social and affordable housing stock plummet. This means there simply isn’t enough housing for key workers, let alone the vulnerable in our society. Give Me Shelter quantifies the long-term financial impact of continuing to ignore this issue at $25 billion per annum by the year 2051. That’s a figure we, as a society, simply can’t afford to ignore.
Last month, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Queensland’s Sunshine Coast region alone, was losing $786 million per year in economic output as a direct result of the lack of affordable housing in the area. That’s a lot of money that could have been spent on hospitals, roads, schools, parks, and our communities.
The research cited in the Sydney Morning Herald was compiled for the “Everybody’s Home” affordable housing campaign by Impact Economics and Policy and shows the surge in prices and rents is making it increasingly difficult for regional areas to attract workers. House values along the Sunshine Coast hit an annual growth rate of almost 36 percent, with the median value at $1.1 million. Most Australians simply can’t afford houses that cost this much, let alone rent them. This current trajectory is simply not sustainable.
So, what does this all mean? It means that this lack of housing isn’t a problem that is off in the distance: it’s here, now, and it’s having a direct economic impact on business in Queensland. The lack of affordable housing in Queensland is no longer just a ‘social’ issue – it’s an ‘economic’ issue, it’s a ‘business’ issue and that makes it everyone’s issue. Businesses are closing their doors because they can’t find workers, and they can’t find workers because workers can’t find housing.
There are solutions.
Of course, we can all agree that Government needs to spend more on housing, but there’s also a role for business in the solution, and that’s where Housing All Australians comes in. As a national not-for-profit, HAA support businesses to be part of the solution. HAA work with businesses to reimagine idle property for temporary shelter or renovate properties for longer term accommodation. Properties like Wynn Carr Women’s Shelter in Fremantle, this facility is the culmination of work from a group of dedicated West Australian businesses who rolled up their sleeves and donated over $1 million of products and services to make the renovation happen.
In other states, such as Victoria, HAA are working with businesses to invest in affordable housing to provide accommodation for their staff, particularly in regional and coastal areas that have experienced significant population shifts.
These are just some of the ways businesses can and want to be involved.
A problem worth solving.
Is the challenge a large one? Yes, but it’s also one that is worth solving.
If you would like to know more about how your business can help, please contact Dr Greg Usher, Non-Executive Director and Chair of Housing All Australians’ Queensland Management Committee at email@example.com.