Passage of housing reforms a strong step forward
The nation’s peak housing and homelessness bodies have strongly welcomed the agreement between Labor, the Greens and Cross bench to pass laws that establish the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF).
The $10 billion HAFF will create a pipeline of funding for social and affordable rental housing. The package of laws will also establish the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council as an independent statutory advisory body to plan the delivery of new social and affordable housing. It will also establish Housing Australia as the national housing agency.
An additional $1 billion will also be invested in the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to support new homes.
Wendy Hayhurst, CEO of Community Housing Industry Association, said the agreement would give community housing associations the confidence they needed to plan and deliver sorely needed homes.
“The passage of these laws is critically important,” Ms Hayhurst said. “This is the first step to easing the housing crisis and expanding the right type of housing supply, so that people on low and modest incomes have genuine housing options.
“We thank the Government, the Greens, and the crossbench in both houses for their focus and determination to give more Australians the housing security and certainty they need.”
The Housing Australia Future Fund is projected to help the Government deliver on its commitment of 30,000 new social and affordable rental homes in its first five years, including 4,000 homes for women and children impacted by family and domestic violence or older women at risk of homelessness.
It will also set aside $200 million for the repair, maintenance and improvement of housing in remote Indigenous communities; $100 million for crisis and transitional housing options for women and children impacted by family and domestic violence and older women at risk of homelessness; and $30 million to build housing for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or at‑risk of homelessness.
Emma Greenhalgh, CEO of National Shelter said:
“We are pleased to see an agreement between the Government and the Greens. The Crossbench and the Greens have strengthened the Bills and enhanced the responses to housing for those in need. We must now turn our attention to the development of a coordinated National Housing and Homelessness Plan to provide a clear blueprint for solving the housing crisis.”
Kate Colvin, CEO of Homelessness Australia said: ‘The homes delivered through the HAFF will each make an enormous difference to people who would otherwise be homeless. It’s welcome to see that increased resources have been added to the amount of social and affordable homes to be built, as the number of people in desperate need of affordable housing continues to increase.
Rob Macfarlane, CEO of NATSIHA said: “For decades, the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals have been overlooked. NATSIHA views these fresh resources as a crucial initial step in tackling the long standing issue of unmet housing needs within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. NATSIHA urges the government to persist in its efforts to guarantee that First Nation Australians are well housed.