“We see wellbeing for Tasmanians as a key measure of our recovery.”
This statement is a game changer for our state; for the first time merging measurement of social needs with economic ones.
With our island advantage and other factors putting us ahead of many other parts of Australia in rebuilding and recovering post-pandemic, PESRAC’s advice that a successful recovery must be measured through both social and economic outcomes takes us to a new level of problem-solving.
Shifting to this integrated way of measuring success ensures social and economic outcomes are considered together, marrying these two essential parts of Tasmanian life and increasing the effectiveness of recovery strategies.
Construction of affordable housing provides a strong illustration of how this well-rounded approach has the potential to benefit all Tasmanians.
Lack of affordable housing in Tasmania is not a new issue. Years of underinvestment in housing, forced on successive governments in some part by the historical federal housing debt, led to the pre-COVID-19 housing crisis, an average 59 week wait for Tasmanians queued on the priority housing wait list, and a widely expressed desire by Tasmanians to change things for the better.
According to research by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), to keep pace with pre-COVID-19 current and projected housing need, we would need our government to invest in construction of at least 14,000 affordable homes over the next 15 years. This equates to an additional 1,000 affordable dwellings constructed each year.
Every affordable house built provides Tasmanians with a place to call home and the confidence of knowing they have a safe place to sleep each night.
Each affordable house built directly provides three full-time equivalent jobs as well as the flow on benefit to local economies.
The State Government’s June announcement that it would fast-track construction of 1,000 affordable homes demonstrates we can break the back of Tasmania’s entrenched housing affordability and availability shortfalls if we choose to.
The impetus from our decision-makers to rebuild a stronger Tasmania out the other side of this virus is there. So let’s choose to invest in a successful, supported and prosperous Tasmania where every one of us has the opportunity to live a good life.
Adrienne Picone is the Chief Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Council of Social Service Inc (TasCOSS).