Government strategies to manage population ageing largely assume that older Australians are home owners. There is often an implied association between home ownership and ageing well: that is, older Australians who own homes are seen as having made the right choices and as being less of a budget burden.
The problem with this approach is that not everyone is or can be a home owner. A great many households are, for many reasons, locked out of home ownership.
My analysis of 20 years of federal government ageing strategies and age-focused analyses of the housing system shows that Australian governments of all persuasions have shared three common beliefs about the economic value of home ownership in later life. They have promoted home ownership as:
- somewhere to live;
- an asset to rent or sell; and
- a way to access and spend equity.
Read the article in The Conversation here.
Read the research paper in The Geographical Journal here.
Image credit: Mark Moz
In conjunction with declining home ownership we are also seeing an increasing proportion of renter households in Australia.
Australian renters are paying higher rents – median household rent has increased at a greater rate than median personal income. This has greatest impact on single person households and single-parent and couple households where there is only one income.
The median single income household would need to spend more than 50% of their household income to pay the median rent. This is unaffordable by any measure and is indicative of the housing stress facing Australian renters.
Read more here or here.
The measures in the 2017-18 federal budget targeting the supply of lower-cost rental housing are limited. There are no significant funding increases to social housing and homelessness services. There is no increase in rent assistance to help low-income renters in the private rental market.
Capital gains tax and negative gearing settings remain largely untouched, and the proposed bond aggregator will support expansion of housing aimed at very specific groups.
For the majority of Australia’s renters, housing will remain unaffordable, insecure and out of reach.
Read my analysis of rental measures in the 2017 budget here.
Call for Papers: Institute of Australian Geographers Conference – Brisbane, 11-14 July, 2017
Paper Session: The Politics of ‘Caring With’
Care is critical to many contemporary debates around social policy and service provision. Following Tronto (1993), care has been conceptualised through the practices of caring about, taking care of, care giving and care receiving. However, little attention has been paid to how individuals and organisations care ‘with’ vulnerable people. Understanding care as something that people do with, rather than for others recognises that people who receive care are not always powerless. ‘Caring with’ decentres the care giver, recognising that care receivers co-create care relations, practices and spaces. ‘Caring with’ relies on communication, dialogue, mutuality and expressions of solidarity. This session invites papers that consider relations and practices of caring with, including materialities of care, economies of care, caring subjectivities, caring ethoses, care relationality and performativity, spaces of care, and care as materialised and practiced in social policy and service provision.
Session organisers: Kathy Mee and Faith Curtis (University of Newcastle), Miriam Williams (Macquarie University) and Emma Power (Western Sydney University)
Submit an abstract via the conference website and also get in contact with me to indicate interest (Emma Power – firstname.lastname@example.org).
I will be talking at the Older Women and Violence: Innovative Policies, Programs and Practices symposium at Western Sydney University this Wednesday.
Biographies of Housing & Home: Older Women’s Experiences of Housing Security. Can single older women find housing security and a house that is a home in later life? What if they are starting again, having left a relationship and the ‘family home’?
For more information on the event click here.
Image: Atila Siha