On the 22 August the (then) Commonwealth Treasurer signed off on the bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and NSW under the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) that replaced the previous National Affordable Housing Agreement (NHHA). This allows funding for social housing and homelessness to flow for the 5 year life of the agreement to 2023.
Of course, continued funding was never really in doubt.
The bilateral is the second part of the NHHA – the first is the overarching multi-lateral agreement between all the states and the Commonwealth.
This NSW agreement sets out the main elements of NSW’s housing and homelessness strategies that contribute to the priority policy areas identified in the multilateral agreement and the objectives of that agreement. However, one of the big wins by the states has been to specify that the Commonwealth financial contribution won’t be affected if the outcomes aren’t achieved or if the strategies don’t achieve their aims.
About all that is required is a statement of assurance that identifies what has been spent on housing and homelessness. The states will also work to improve data collection and provide transparent reporting against national performance indicators. Again, funding is not affected by these performance indicators. But for all the talk from the Federal Government that housing affordability is a priority; criticism that the previous National Affordable Housing Agreement and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness did not deliver; and the fanfare over the National Housing Infrastructure Facility; how does the NHHA change the picture for housing especially for social and affordable housing? Unfortunately it's business as usual.