Queensland’s housing crisis has sparked an unprecedented, statewide call from councils, community services, and industry bodies for an increase in social housing funding in next week’s state budget.

QCOSS, the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), the Real Estate institute of Queensland (REIQ), the Property Council of Australia, and Master Builders Queensland warn state funding has failed to keep pace with the housing crisis, despite a record amount being announced last year.

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said more than 50,000 Queenslanders did not have a safe home to go to.

“Queensland is simultaneously experiencing a rental crisis, unaffordable house prices, soaring costs of living, reoccurring natural disasters, and a record social housing register, with more than 50,000 people waiting for a home,” Ms McVeigh said.

“We celebrated the Queensland Government’s record $2.9 billion funding announcement for social and affordable housing last year, but we need to see accelerated construction across the state.

“Queenslanders living in cars, tents and motels right now can’t afford to wait for the wheels of government to turn. The Government have said they will start 727 residences by the end of June, it’s just not enough.”

LGAQ CEO Alison Smith said the housing crisis was impacting every local community across the state.

“Queensland councils are united in the call for action to address the housing crisis and increased investment in social housing is critical,” Ms Smith said.

“So too is the need a National Housing Summit to bring all stakeholders together to find further solutions.

“The LGAQ has welcomed the work the State has been undertaking with councils to progress local housing action plans alongside its record $2.9 billion funding spend. Our members support the call for further funds to flow to boost social housing stock.”

Master Builders Queensland CEO Paul Bidwell said Master Builders supports calls for investment in social and affordable housing in the upcoming State Budget.

“Investment in social and affordable housing is a no brainer and a win-win for both the industry and those struggling with record low housing affordability,” Mr Bidwell said.

“According to the recent ABS producer price index, Queensland currently leads the charge in rising costs, with a whopping 23 per cent increase in the last 12 months. These kinds of numbers exacerbate housing affordability issues even further.

“For the building industry, cost hikes and material and trade shortages are biting hard, and there is a wave of financial strife on the horizon.

“As the Queensland economy looks to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, this is the perfect shot in the arm as well as very importantly providing support to those in need.

“The latest building approvals saw the total value of work approved drop by 14.2 per cent during April – reinforcing what is a clear downward trend.

“Investment in social housing in the 2022 Queensland Budget will certainly be a step forward in addressing concerns across the board.”

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said at a time when vacancy rates across Queensland are at record lows, innovative ways to boost private and social housing in both the short and long term need to be considered.

“Improving Queensland’s housing supply is vital – we need more investors to provide private housing through existing established stock and we need to build more social housing for vulnerable and lower socio-economic groups,” Ms Mercorella said.

“We are in a housing crisis, and none of us want to be seeing families living out of cars or tents in our great state. We want an accessible, healthy market.

“We need a plan that transcends politics involving all levels of government and relevant stakeholders, and takes into account our growing population and our changing housing needs to solve this wicked problem.”

Property Council of Australia Queensland Executive Director Jen Williams explained that while there had been a record investment in social housing in last year’s budget, there continued to be a statewide undersupply of all types of housing.

“The number of people on the social housing waitlist reinforces how widespread the housing shortfall is,” Ms Williams said.

“We have reached crisis point in terms of supply. All options must now be on the table to not just deliver social housing, but to accelerate the supply of private rental and owner-occupied accommodation to ease pressure on the public system.

“The politics needs to be taken out of housing, and ideas to fast track supply – such as incentivising institutional investment through Build to Rent and unlocking new growth areas- must be at the forefront of next week’s Budget.”

QCOSS’s Town of Nowhere Campaign, which is backed by 11 leading state community organisations, is calling for an acceleration of social and affordable housing growth. The LGAQ is calling for the quadrupling of capital investment in social housing by adding a further $4.8 billion over four years to build in areas of need.

13 June 2022