House debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Private Members' Business


5:07 pm

Photo of Cassandra FernandoCassandra Fernando (Holt, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

ERNANDO () (): I want to thank the member for Higgins for bringing up this great motion. I am pleased to speak on one of the most pressing issues facing our nation—housing. The Albanese Labor government recognises that safe and affordable housing is not just a basic necessity; it's central to the security and dignity of all Australians. Far too many Australians are galloping with the burden of growing rents, making it increasingly difficult for them to make ends meet. The dream of owning a home has become an elusive goal for many as the barriers to entry continue to rise.

I am proud the Albanese Labor government is taking firm action. We are implementing a comprehensive set of reforms aimed at ensuring every Australian has a place to call home. Over the past decade, the proportion of social housing in Australia has declined from 4.8 per cent to 4.1 per cent of all housing stock. The Albanese Labor government is unwavering in its commitment to reversing this trend and ensuring that all Australians have access to secure and affordable housing.

I am pleased the Albanese government reintroduced legislation to establish the Housing Australia Future Fund. This fund will provide a sustainable and ongoing source of funding to build the social and affordable homes that Australians so desperately need. What is heartening is that this legislation has garnered support from everyone in this House, except for those who are out of touch with everyday Australians, like most of the coalition. This fund will be instrumental in achieving the ambitious target we took to the last election—building 30,000 new social and affordable rental homes within the first five years of its establishment. This is the most significant boost to affordable housing in over a decade. Importantly, we ensure that these homes are distributed fairly and credibly across our great nation. They will be found not only in our cities but also in our towns, as well as in regional and remote Australia. Our efforts do not end here.

We are also dedicated to helping Australians achieve their dream of home ownership. We inherited an economy where many Australians struggled to save a deposit and buy a home. However, we are determined to deliver solutions to fix this problem. One such solution is the Help to Buy scheme, designed to support eligible Australians on low to moderate incomes in purchasing their own home with a smaller deposit, resulting in more manageable mortgage payments. This scheme is a lifeline for up to 40,000 low- and middle-income families over four years, making home ownership a reality for those who feel locked out of the housing market.

Under this program, the Albanese Labor government will provide an equity contribution of up to 40 per cent for new homes and 30 per cent for existing homes. We are working tirelessly to ensure that this scheme is accessible to all Australians in every state and territory. As well, states agreed at national cabinet to progress legislation to implement the scheme nationally. In fact, since the election, the Albanese government has assisted more than 67,000 Australians in achieving home ownership.

Furthermore, our recent budget announcement expanded the First Home Guarantee Scheme to include any two eligible borrowers beyond just spouse or de facto partners. It is also now available to non-first home buyers who haven't owned a property in Australia in the last ten years, providing support to those who have faced financial crisis or relationship breakdown.

Moreover, we have extended eligibility to borrowers who are single legal guardians of children, such as aunties, uncles or grandparents, in addition to single, natural and adoptive parents.

The Albanese Labor government is committed to building more social and affordable housing, while helping Australians achieve their home ownership dreams. We understand the challenges that many Australians face, and we are taking decisive action to ensure a brighter and more secure future for all. Together, we can provide every Australian with an opportunity to have a place to call home.


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