Home truths

Also timely, this forum is happening tomorrow in Surry Hills, near Central Station. Get in touch for the address, it’s in an office block rather than a public venue.

The Great Australian Dream (Nightmare?)

Secure, affordable housing is fundamental to any worthwhile conception of the ‘good society’. Housing is also a source of inequality, of identity, and a locus of recurrent bouts of speculation. The powerful interplay of these factors – housing as security, as a source of identity, as a speculative asset class – combined to lay the foundations of the subprime debacle in the US. With Australia yet to feel the full force of a recession induced slump in the housing market, it is imperative that progressives consider alternatives in housing policy that prioritise social justice and attempt to reduce speculation.

Date: Wednesday, April 1

Time: 6.30pm

Guest speakers:

Frank Stilwell

How significant is housing in promoting speculation in the economy? How could the negative consequences of such speculation be reduced? Is land tax part of the solution? How would it work? Is it politically feasible in the context of the crisis?

Prof Frank Stillwell is a well known advocate of alternative economic strategies which prioritize social justice and sustainability. He has taught for 36 years at the University of Sydney and has been awarded the University’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The author of eleven books, his research interests centre on Australian economic politics, urban and regional development and economic inequality. He is the coordinating editor of the Journal of Australian Political Economy. He is also the Economics Spokesperson for the NSW Greens Working Group.

Louise Crabtree

How have Community Land Trusts faired during the housing crash in the US? Why has the experience been different to that of other forms of property tenure? What is happening in terms of establishing CLTs in Sydney (Australia)? How can this process be expedited?

Dr Crabtree is currently Research Fellow and Research Program Coordinator at the Urban Research Centre, University of Western Sydney. She has researched and worked in urban community gardens and affordable housing in Australia and the United States and has a particular interest in the interactions between forms of property tenure and sustainable livelihoods in cities.

Adam Farrar

What is the current trajectory of housing policy at the State and Federal levels? Have there been any positive developments since Rudd’s election? Where are the major gaps in housing policy? What should be prioritised from a campaigning perspective?

Adam has worked in the community welfare sector for more than 20 years, working in various capacities for peak bodies in areas such as the Future of Work, Urban & Regional Development, and Housing. For many years now, he has particularly worked on community housing, as Executive Directors of the National Community Housing Forum and currently as Executive Director of the NSW Federation of Housing Associations.

General questions to consider:

  1. How will (should) Australia cope with widespread mortgage defaults that may occur over the next few years?
  2. Is it possible to build a popular campaign against such measures as negative gearing, home saver accounts, first homebuyer grants etc?
  3. What policies would more effectively cater for the long-term housing needs of Australian society?
Published in: on 31 March, 2009 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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