It is clear the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will hit a lot of Australian families hard.
For people who lose their job or lose hours at work it will make it much harder to pay the mortgage or pay the rent.
No one should lose their home because they, or their family, are affected by the virus.
Housing will be a huge issue for many Australians during this time. At the moment, there are many Australians who feel that they are vulnerable because of the economic circumstance of which they haven't played a part. We need to make sure that there's protections put in place.
More Australians are behind in their mortgage repayments today than at any time since the Global Financial Crisis and rental stress is through the roof. This crisis will make this worse.
Labor has urged the Government to immediately develop and implement a plan to help ensure people don’t lose the home they own or rent because of the virus.
It is important that the Government consider measures to protect renters affected financially by the virus like:
- Suspension on commencement of eviction proceedings due to rental arrears
- Ensuring that the electricity, the gas and the phone are not disconnected
Labor welcomed the announcement by Australian banks to provide much needed relief for borrowers during this challenging time.
Some banks have announced support to households with home loan repayment deferrals. We have called on other lenders to do what they can to assist Australians as the impact of this virus outbreak continues to worsen.
There also needs to be support from the banks and the Government for landlords. It's understandable that landlords rely upon some income coming in from the investments that they have made. It's also the case that we need to have more payment flexibility in place.
It is also important that we provide support for those organisations that are providing support for the homeless and the needy – you can't maintain social distance and maintain your health at a time like this if you don't have somewhere safe and secure to put your head down at night.
A practical plan needs to be developed as quickly as possible tailored to the situation in Australia.
It is urgent that the COAG meetings that are taking place deal with the issues of housing and homelessness.