SA urged to use GST windfall to turbo-charge housing

·1-min read

A windfall of more than $750 million in extra GST returns is the perfect opportunity to tackle South Australia's public housing crisis, a welfare group says.

The South Australian Council of Social Service says the state is set to get an extra $784 million over the next four years and this should be used to to turbo-charge investment in public housing and help bring down rental prices.

"Public housing investment provides housing for those who are excluded from the housing market, puts downward pressure on rents across the market, and builds the public wealth," SACOSS chief executive Ross Womersley said.

"That makes it a great investment when additional money like this becomes available.

"Investing a substantial portion of this windfall in public housing will deliver much-needed support for the thousands of South Australians who need it and ongoing assets vital for the state's long-term future."

SACOSS said the waiting list for public housing was about 15,000 and the number of public houses had steadily declined over the past two decades.

The government recently announced plans to build several hundred new homes and stop the sale of others.

But Mr Womersley said SA needed to build more than 300 public houses a year just to keep up with population growth.

"In real terms, we actually need around 3600 new public housing dwellings over the next four years to cover both population growth and make up for the housing lost," he said.

The government will provide full details of GST returns and proposed spending measures when it hands down the state budget in June.