On Whose Account? Government Spending on Housing

27 Jan 2024

The Centre for Equitable Housing released a report that investigates what the Federal Government spends on housing every year, who gets the funding, and what are the objectives of the funding.

Some key findings from the report are:

  • The share of federal housing spending going to the lowest 20% of income earners declined from 44% in 1993 to 23% in 2023, while the share going to the top 20% increased from 9% to 43%.
  • In the last decade alone, the share going to the top 20% of earners has increased by over a third.
  • The share of total federal housing expenditure going to property investors rose from 16.5% in 1993-94 to 61.4% in 2021-22.
  • Investor tax concessions have grown from $1.5 billion in 2000 to an estimated $18 billion in 2024, effectively operating as a shadow housing policy with a significant impact on the market.
  • In 2023-2024, federal investor tax breaks will be worth more than ten times the amount spent by the Federal Government on social housing and homelessness services through the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.

The report notes that:

The persistence of an approach that sees a home as a consumer good, and the role of the government to provide a welfare-based safety net to those not able to buy one, rather than as a fundamental economic right enabling full participation in society and security from harm, will never achieve the fundamental housing system reform so desperately needed.

The report can be accessed here.