Sunday, October 30, 2005

Kareena Ballard (REI President) outlines a plan to improve housing affordability

Kareena Ballard outlines a plan to improve housing affordability - On Line Opinion - 6/10/2003

"While there are some indications that the upward trend may be starting to slow, urgent answers are needed to address the increasingly tough market conditions for first homebuyers and low-income earners.

Deterred by rising prices and the consequent large mortgages and income required to service these loans, however, a significant sector of the Australian community may be unable to become home-owners unless governments, state and Commonwealth, take housing affordability seriously. Others may not be able to commence home purchase until so late that they continue to have substantial mortgage debt into retirement.

In addition, a number of economic and social changes in Australian society are making it more difficult for Australians to purchase their own homes, including the changing employment profile in Australia, later and second family formation, divorce, greater longevity and changing consumption trends supported by unprecedented levels of household debt."

To this list I would add more and more singles in the market, estimated to continue to increase as a social trend by the ABS, whereas the housing 'market' prices even 1 bedroom apartments to a double income.

Regarding Kareena's policy suggestions, and adding to the list, I have indicated the direct control and policing of housing prices in a protectionist way. After all, the Valuer-General already happily values every single house there is, it therefore can't be too hard to add another level of control over pricing with very few extra resources required.

It's a matter of trust: but we don't even like our neighbours

It's a matter of trust: but we don't even like our neighbours - National

Note that:

"Dr Hughes said the lowest levels of trust were found among those in public housing and the second lowest was among those renting privately.

'Those people who feel more vulnerable in society are more cautious, along with those people who feel more vulnerable and those people who have lower levels of health and lower levels of financial independence and education,' he said."

Governments like to prop up landlords with huge tax giveaways, and do their part to prevent affordable home ownership, at the cost of this loss of trust and security in the community. Clearly capitalist governments like to work against the interests of the community, despite all their fine, empty words at speech-making and voting time...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Long hours disconnecting families: Goward

Housing costs, excessive commuting times from the affordability belt and the NEED for 2 incomes in families to keep their heads above water certainly feed into this picture:

Long hours disconnecting families: Goward - National -

Long work hours are making men grumpy, while women are struggling to balance uncertain hours with family commitments.

That's what Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward has been told in submissions to a report about balancing work and family responsibilities.

"The most important challenge for men is the huge hours that men are working," Ms Goward said.

"I thought it was just a problem for middle managers, really, but it's much more widespread than that."

Ms Goward said men who worked long hours were often "disconnected" from their wives and children - something that may be contributing to Australia's "alarming" divorce rate.

Ms Goward said more women were employed in casual work and many had trouble with the uncertainty of their hours, making it difficult to arrange child-care and family commitments.

Ms Goward was also concerned the Government's proposed industrial relations reforms would result in worse working conditions for women on low incomes.

"I think for low-income, low-skilled people the flexibilities will inevitably lead to more precarious working hours, particularly for women, and that was a big complaint from women," Ms Goward told ABC Radio today.