Canberra: all eyes on the Senate and the upcoming budget

In last month’s bulletin we noted that the Government’s housing legislative package had passed through the House of Representatives and was being considered by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee ahead of the Senate’s consideration. As a reminder, the legislation is intended to establish the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF), the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council and turn the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) into a national housing agency – Housing Australia.

Since then, the Federal Opposition has declared that it will not support the HAFF and negotiations between Labor and the Greens have become tense to the point of stalled – with the latter declaring the legislation to be lacking ambition (in terms of funding and commitment).
We support the position being taken by National Shelter. That is, to support the introduction of the Housing Australia Future Fund (with amendments) as a good start, while acknowledging that it does not meet the scale of the demand that exists rights now. As National Shelter CEO Emma Greenhalgh noted recently, “we need significantly more investment in social and affordable housing – but not just from the federal government – it needs to come from state/territory governments, with contributions from local government and the private sector… But we must remember this – we have decades of neglect to respond to… The HAFF is only one part of the response.”

We acknowledge Emma’s dedication and thank her for her tireless work on behalf of our broader sector and our cause.

On a brighter front, we’re happy to share the good news that a sector-wide national campaign to address a $67.5m homelessness services funding shortfall has been successful. You can read more about it in this Homelessness NSW update.

For more interesting information:

  • National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation’s (NHFIC), third flagship State of the Nation Report 2022-23 research report. The report provides data and analysis into housing demand and supply across Australia, as well as long-term projections, with a view to identifying potential drivers of, and challenges to, housing affordability.
  • AHURI Research featuring a new model for understanding and predicting what drives households into housing stress. The tool looks at critical life events in interaction with household resources and can be used to support timely policy intervention in response to housing shocks. Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler was happy to be involved in this UNSW research. You can access the report using this link.

To take action ahead of the May Budget: Here’s a link to Email the Treasurer, Jim Chalmers MP, calling on the Federal Government to commit to funding the expansion of social housing.