Michael Danby MHR
Tel: (03) 9534 8126
Fax: (03) 9534 1575
117 Fitzroy Street
St Kilda VIC 3182
PO Box 2086
St Kilda West 3182
Melbourne Ports Electorate: Housing
Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (10.54 a.m.) —Melbourne
Ports is one of the more diverse electorates in Victoria. It has residents
living on age pensions, single parent pensions and low incomes as
well as high income earners of all types. The gentrification of the
population in our area has seen the private rental market skyrocket.
Private rents can absorb between 40 and 105 per cent of income of
a range of low to average income households. Blocks of rental flats
and apartments, comprising 15 per cent of Melbourne's flats, are projected
to be subdivided and strata titled by 2008. The area's rooming houses,
which comprise approximately 20 per cent of Victoria's rooming houses,
are being redeveloped at a rate of 10 per cent a year. These trends
will only increase in our electorate in a booming, competitive inner
urban and bayside housing market where, apart from Homebush, we have
the biggest housing development—Beacon Cove. This will lock
out low income earners who have lived in the area all of their lives.
Kilda is famous for having had in the 1950s some 600 rooming houses.
Today there are just 63, but this number still involves approximately
1,400 people in my electorate. The St Kilda Housing Association is
a very impressive local organisation, which, out of its own rental
income, is building new accommodation that houses some 370 residents.
I recently visited with association members all of their properties
in the St Kilda area. They are doing a fantastic job in housing people
on low incomes. But, even with their judicious reinvestment of rentals,
they are financially unable to cover some 900 people who register,
sometimes indefinitely, for a place with them. For some of these 900
people and for 105,000 people across the country, their only option
may be living on the streets because they cannot even find crisis
these figures, the federal government's budget delivers no new initiatives
to tackle the growing housing shortage around the country and in my
electorate. Instead, we just heap another flat tax on these low income
earners. Residents of rooming houses and caravan parks, who are often
in the lowest income bracket, are the only people who are required
to pay the GST up-front on their rent. Similarly, pensioners, who
also make up a huge percentage of those seeking low rental housing,
will be affected by this new flat tax, since the government's own
budget papers reveal that prices will increase around 6.75 per cent—yet
pensioners will only receive a four per cent increase in the pension.
government's compensation to first home buyers may be worth while
but, in my view, it does seem a little out of kilter. This non-means
tested scheme will mean that a person buying a $1 million house will
receive $7,000 in assistance, whereas those in rooming houses and
caravan parks will have to pay the GST on their rents. The member
for Grayndler has very ably pointed out the effect that the GST will
have on people all around Australia who are living in caravan parks.
I am sure there are many members opposite who are paying attention
to his remarks because of the effect that will have on residents in
their own electorates. In my electorate, the same effect is being
felt by the poorest elements of the population who are living in rooming
houses. The iniquitous effect of this budget and the GST will be felt
hardest by them.