Mulgrave candidates: Solutions for a housing crisis

Rhonda Garad, Greens, wants urgent rent controls and large stocks of public and 'genuinely affordable' housing.

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

Candidates in the 18 November Mulgrave by-election are offering a range of alternative solutions to the State Government’s Housing Statement.

The Statement sets a target of 800,000 new homes over the next decade with affordable housing quotas and fast-tracked planning approvals – the latter which has been criticized as ‘undemocratic’ by local councils.

It was one of the last acts of the Mulgrave MP and Premier Daniel Andrews before he resigned and sparked the by-election.

“More housing supply means lower prices,” he said on 20 September.

Labor candidate Eden Foster stated in the Star Journal candidates survey that it was “exciting to watch” the Government tackle the issue.

“I can’t wait to make sure that (Housing Statement) includes more housing for people in Mulgrave.

“Whether it’s protections for renters, faster approvals for families building a new home or incentives to put affordable houses for local people near transport connections.”

Liberal candidate Courtney Mann offered a similar approach – increasing housing supply by releasing new land as well as making it easier to build affordable homes in established suburbs.

Family First’s Jane Foreman also called for appropriate in-fill development “which does not impact on local amenity”.

On the other hand, Celeste Ackerly from Sustainable Australia says the housing crisis is due to “government-engineered hyper-demand” not a lack of supply.

“We would phase tax concessions for property investors bidding against first home buyers, banning foreign ownership and stabilising Australia’s population size.”

Greens candidate Rhonda Garad called for changes to the Housing Statement, including urgent rent controls to protect tenants.

She also wanted a commitment for tens of thousands of new public and “genuinely affordable” homes.

“People are receptive on the whole cost-of-living stuff and they do know that Labor is not going to fix the housing crisis. (Labor) isn’t even talking about it.”

Independent Ian Cook would fight against increased property taxes so owners can provide cheaper rents, and Libertarian Ethelyn King for stamp duty cuts and less planning restrictions,

As for other cost-of-living solutions, Cook is standing for “stopping government waste”.

“Because every dollar the government wastes is a dollar not spent on you and your family.”

In a similar vein, King from the Libertarian Party called for lower taxes, cutting administration costs and streamlining government services.

Mann from the Liberals also called for a reversal of Labor’s “new taxes” that were “increasing our rental, housing, health and education costs”.

Foreman from Family First would push for reducing electricity prices by “pausing the rush to renewables”.

While on the other hand, the Greens’ Garad called for “affordable renewables to reduce energy bills” as well as improved public transport and ending “price gouging” by supermarkets.

Foster from the ALP pointed to the Government’s free kinder for three- and four-year olds, “saving up to $2500 per child” and the local Priority Primary Care Centres providing free healthcare.