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Citizens’ agenda: Murraylands residents need jobs and affordable housing
Candidates for Hammond at the 2022 state election respond to voters’ concerns about housing, jobs and disadvantage.
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Therapist Val Braendler has worked with some of the Murraylands’ most vulnerable people.
So when she warns that our housing crisis has become acute for those who can least afford exorbitant weekly rents, including women escaping domestic violence, she knows her stuff.
It often took three months for someone to get out of a hotel and into a house, even in emergencies, she said.
The wait list for public or other affordable housing in the Murraylands was typically six to 12 months long.
“There’s up to 70 applicants for every place, and (landlords) have hiked up the rents,” she said.
“If you’ve got a single mum with six kids, not working, and a young couple, both working, (landlords) are not going to take the single mum, are they?”
There were so many things the next Member for Hammond needed to do in response to the crisis, she suggested: make it easier for landlords to remove “feral” tenants, enforce ethical standards for real estate agents, and encourage major employers to get proactive about providing accommodation for their workers.
She is not the only local in search of a solution.
About a dozen respondants to Murray Bridge News’ recent citizens’ agenda survey named breaking the welfare cycle, or issues around unemployment and affordable housing, as their greatest concern ahead of this election.
One respondant, a 50-year-old woman, said she had been couch surfing for more than a year, unable to find a home through Housing SA, non-profit agencies or privately.
Another respondant argued that big employers’ use of labour hire companies “only serves to keep people on the welfare grind, barely keeping their heads above water”.
What do the candidates for Hammond think about disadvantage in the Murraylands, and what would they do about it?
We asked them.
If elected, how would you ensure every resident of Hammond has access to a secure job, an affordable home and a reasonable standard of living?
Tim White (Greens)
The Greens bring a significant policy agenda to the 2022 state election that would see the creation of thousands of jobs in South Australia.
To overcome the housing affordability crisis in South Australia, the Greens will build 40,000 public sector dwellings for those on lower incomes who are currently experiencing stress in the housing market.
As a means of abating climate change, the Greens will kick-start the electric vehicle manufacturing industry in South Australia.
To protect casual and contract workers, the Greens will bring this sector of the workforce within the protections of industrial law to ensure their entitlement to fair minimum wages, secure employment and strong workplace safety standards.
The flow-on from these initiatives will have significant benefits for the residents of Hammond.
To fund these initiatives the Greens will seek to have banks, developers and corporations pay their fair share of tax, like everybody else.
Tonya Scott (One Nation)
We put Australia and Australians first, and that's exactly what I'm going to do for the people of Hammond.
One Nation aims to bring back Australian manufacturing and innovation, and embark on nation-building infrastructure projects and expand national apprenticeships with generous wage subsidies to develop a home-grown pool of skilled workers to fill the Australian jobs this will create.
Housing is a national crisis.
In South Australia, One Nation has a policy to increase the supply of housing and reduce costs.
We'll ban foreign ownership of residential property and introduce stamp duty concessions, eliminating stamp duty for purchases up to $600,000 for first home buyers and up to $400,000 for people seeking to downsize.
We will also be pushing for much more resources and funding for homelessness services, public housing and emergency accommodation.
Airlie Keen (independent)
Our region is fortunate to have a range of employment opportunities, training programs, an innovative TAFE campus and the River Murray Study Hub.
If elected, I will bring together community leaders, employers and jobseekers to determine the solutions they believe will enhance employment opportunities and address challenges in Hammond.
Cost of living pressures are felt throughout our community and all tiers of government must strive to reduce the tax burden while ensuring the efficient delivery of services.
More should be done to provide a mix of affordable housing types and I will call on the new state government to commit funding for major housing renewal projects across Hammond.
Multi-million-dollar urban renewal projects are concentrated in the metropolitan area and we have been overlooked.
It is hard to comprehend why the state government has so many vacant properties and that is a matter I will continue to highlight.
If you are keen for change, vote one Airlie Keen.
John Illingworth (National)
Whilst housing developments in Murray Bridge are excellent for home buyers who have a deposit and the income to pay for a mortgage, there is still very little hope for marginalised and disadvantaged people in the Bridge.
Our affordable land prices means the SA Housing Authority can build homes in Murray Bridge for a fraction of the prices in Adelaide, with construction and maintenance contracts providing work for local people.
A fairer share of the SA Housing Authority budget would provide public housing stock which, in turn, will reduce the costs to our lowest income earners, get them out of costly private rentals and give them hope, dignity and self-worth.
Without low-cost public housing, these people are destined to perpetuate the cycle of poverty and disadvantage.
There is no down side, as any reduction in the demand for private rentals will create opportunity to attract new workers to our region.
Belinda Owens (Labor)
Murray Bridge News has sought comment from Ms Owens.
Cameron Lock (Family First)
The family is the building block to a great community.
Family First will seek to ensure that all proposed legislation is considered in the light of its impact on the family through a family impact statement, and we will promote the establishment of a family wellbeing index to provide a framework by which the wellbeing of the family is measured.
To improve standards of living, and ensure more financial support for the family, we will:
advocate for a four-year pause in the collection of the Emergency Services Levy
advocate for a four-year freeze on fuel excise
review motor registration fees, which would be based on the value of the vehicle or income from the vehicle
look to increase public housing and reduce taxes when purchasing a home
incentivise businesses to relocate to regional areas and to employ local staff
Adrian Pederick (Liberal)
The Marshall Liberal government will continue to invest in the region as we have done with over $200 million of government investment, which has supported another $1 billion of private investment, to unleash a myriad of job opportunities right across Hammond.
We continue to give training opportunities to jobseekers and others wishing to upskill through traineeships, apprenticeships and on-the-job training.
Our region has some of the most affordable housing in the state and new developments including Newbridge, Hindmarsh Estate and Gifford Hill will ensure Murray Bridge will accommodate the expected growth.
I will continue to work along with the private sector to facilitate more houses being built.
The Marshall Liberal government will continue to ease cost of living pressures by lowering costs, as we have done with water prices, the Emergency Services Levy and power prices, which will be further lowered with the go-ahead of the New South Wales interconnector.
Meet the candidates for Hammond
Murray Bridge News will host a public forum with the candidates for Hammond at the Bridgeport Hotel on the evening of Wednesday, March 16.
Book your free ticket: www.eventbrite.com.au.
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