The ACTU has welcomed Labors plan for a big new investment in public housing in light of data showing it will take more than 100 years to clear the backlog of demand for public housing under the Howard Governments current policies.

Responding to Labors announcement (Tuesday) of a $400 million plan to ease the crisis in public housing, ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

Official Government figures show that nation-wide, the waiting list for public housing is now at 223,290 – this is a reduction of only 13,000 applicants since 1996.

At this rate it will take another 103 years to clear the backlog of demand for public housing.

Many people who desperately need cheap and secure housing are simply giving up on waiting with figures also showing the number of new public housing applicants dropping by more than 14,000 (a 28% fall) since 1996.

Public housing is an essential part of Australias housing system but the Government is starving it of funds and this has reduced the supply of low-cost housing and worsened affordability for first homebuyers.

The ACTU welcomes Labors announcement of an extra $325 million for public housing and $75 million for partnership projects.

This investment will build more than 20,000 secure new homes for low income Australians and help take the pressure off the volatile housing market.

Labors commitments to appoint a Housing Minister and to prepare a National Strategy for Affordable Housing are very welcome signs that a future Labor Government will help fix Australias worsening housing affordability crisis.

Recent research shows young working people are abandoning the dream of owning their own home with a survey showing half of Generation X – people aged 25-45 years – believing home ownership is out of their reach.

During the past decade average house prices compared with income have almost doubled and the proportion of first home buyers has dropped by almost a third.

Labors proposals are a very welcome start in meeting the priorities identified at least weeks National Housing Affordability Summit organised by the Housing Industry Association, the Australian Council of Social Service, the ACTU and the Australian Local Government Association (for more details see ).