Despite the Miles Government’s ground breaking Homes for Queenslanders Plan, Queensland renters remain at the “brutal edge” of the national housing crisis, with rents in the state rising faster than anywhere else in Australia, a landmark housing report has found.

The Breaking Ground Report, released today by the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS), found that while implementation of the Homes for Queenslanders Plan will break ground on the housing crisis over time, neither major party has a plan to meet the needs of renters.

Breaking Ground is a progress report based on last year’s Pawson Report. Tagged as “a blueprint to tackle Queensland’s housing crisis,” the Pawson Report was commissioned by QCOSS and its Town of Nowhere Partners and written by Professor Hal Pawson and the UNSW City Futures Research Centre team.

Professor Pawson said the State Government’s Homes for Queenslanders plan would make a significant difference in coming years, provided future governments remain on track in delivering on its pledges.

“Both in the range of housing issues it covers, and in its inclusion of defined targets in key areas, the Homes for Queenslanders plan has strategic breadth and substance that are unusual in similar plans published by other states,” Professor Pawson said.

“While it includes numerous measures to amplify market housebuilding, the plan importantly acknowledges that a far wider range of reforms is needed to effectively address the pressured state of the system and the unsatisfactory housing situation that too many Queenslanders are currently facing.”

“The stand-out commitment is the pledge to expand social housing stock by 73% by 2046, and the funded commitment to boost social housebuilding by the required amount to be on track for this over the next three years.”

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said that it is now imperative for the Opposition to commit to the same social housing targets as the State Government and to increasing funding for specialist homelessness services.

“Otherwise, a change in government could significantly jeopardise an opportunity to deal with Queensland’s housing crisis,” she said.

The Breaking Ground report estimates about 150,000 households in Queensland continue to be unable to access affordable housing, with vulnerable families stuck in crisis motel rooms. Outside of Brisbane, low income families living in regional locations like Gladstone, Mackay, and Rockhampton are particularly vulnerable, with pandemic price rises coming on top of pre-existing rental stress.

The report found that in the four years following the onset of the COVID pandemic in early 2020, median advertised rents in Brisbane spiked by 49%, compared to 42% for the other capital cities collectively. Meanwhile, renters living in regional Queensland are battling a brutal private rental market, with the proportion of private rentals affordable to low-income households falling over 20% from 36% in 2017 to 14% in 2024, and state wide only 10% of private rentals are affordable to low-income households.

“The Breaking Ground report confirms that, despite a nation-leading housing plan announced by the Miles Government in February, renters across Queensland have been overlooked and many are on the brink of homelessness,” Ms McVeigh said.

“To make a real difference for renters, both the Queensland Government and State Opposition need to commit to putting a cap on the cost of renting and end unfair evictions.”

Access the full report here.

3 June 2024