Australia Set to Build 30,000 Homes for Virus Recovery
Over the past decade, Australia has been competing with European nations like Sweden and Germany to be a hub for social justice in the world, inviting in many more immigrants and attempting to do a lot more with taxpayer-funded housing and entitlements. Now, according to the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), the nation plans to help stimulate its economy and its population in general by building 30,000 new houses for the nation’s poorest citizens and migrants.
The general idea, floated by ACOSS, is that homelessness would be reduced, immigrants could be housed, and the poorest in the nation could find shelter that they could actually afford. This political philosophy believes that giving people opportunities through government spending is the best way to pull economies out of crises.
There are a lot of economists who would mightily disagree with his approach, citing that it would actually have the opposite effect and be a drain on the nation’s economy; though there are many who hold fast to this way of thinking, believing that if more money is spent on more programs involving social justice, the economy will eventually flourish from the boost of diversity. According ACOSS, they are willing to spend many millions of dollars to see if they can make this a reality.
ACOSS is actually standing in conflict with the populous opinion of the nation, however. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Australia’s economy was booming. Due to corporate tax cuts and incentives for small businesses, Australia’s economy was doing well, with fewer people unemployed than ever before, and a higher GDP and a stronger Australian dollar than in recent memory. Though ACOSS is greatly opposed to the idea of “snapping back” to a pre-virus economy, citing that it would be foolish to return to business as usually, as it was actually not a good thing for immigrants and Australia’s poor that the wealthy were benefiting from a booming economy.
ACOSS is of the belief that going back to how things worked prior to the virus pandemic would actually slow recover down, as they believe that only federal spending on public works can boost the economy and bring the nation back to solvency. ACOSS is an advocacy group, not a government entity, so they technically have no power to spend taxpayers’ money on these projects. Though that has not stopped them from pushing hard for this plan that they believe will “build back better” than how the nation was prior to the pandemic.
The group is asking for $7 billion to build 30,000 houses. Opponents of this plan cite that, per ACOSS’s plans, their 30,000 houses would end up costing around $250,000 each, which is an enormous amount of money to be spent on free and low-income housing; more in line with what wealthy people spend on having palatial new homes built privately. ACOSS is undeterred, however, and insist that this money is needed and this level of housing is the only thing that will spur the economy on after the virus pandemic scare has passed.
Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, claims that they’re on a path right now of fast-tracking these infrastructure plans. Whether or not they get funding toward their goals remains to be seen, but this sort of thinking is really taking off in the west.
Other Nations Potentially Following Suit
From the UK and Canada to the United States, a lot of progressive advocacy groups and politicians are looking to spend trillions of more dollars while saying that doing so will pull their nations out of crisis. For instance, in the United States, former Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is calling for politicians to finally pass universal healthcare, saying that spending the money here will actually spur the economy. In the UK, the Labour Party is hard at work trying to get a lot of extra spending through for its very large Muslim/Asian community, with the goal to spur on their economies specifically. Canada is looking to again increase unemployment and federal benefits paid out to people who are struggling due to the virus.
Everyone hopes that the world recovers from this and that nations bounce back. The real issue here with groups like ACOSS is that many believe you cannot simply throw money at a problem to solve it. These nations have long had social welfare programs, and the fear is that extending them may bankrupt entire nations. For Australia specifically, government seems to be taking ACOSS’s plans seriously, but it’s too early to tell if any money will be allocated toward their building plans.
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