Thursday, 1 March 2018
Treasury Laws Amendment (National Housing and Homelessness Agreement) Bill 2017; Consideration in Detail
(1) Schedule 1, item 4, page 5 (line 18), omit "for", substitute "in relation to".
(2) Schedule 1, item 4, page 5 (line 21), omit "for", substitute "that relates to".
(3) Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (lines 11 and 12), omit "the financial year", substitute "the period ascertained in accordance with the primary housing agreement or the supplementary housing agreement".
(4) Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (line 16), omit "will be implemented to meet", substitute "contribute to meeting".
(5) Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (line 21), before "make", insert "so far as is reasonably practicable to do so—".
(6) Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (lines 24 and 25), omit "the financial year", substitute "the period ascertained in accordance with the primary housing agreement or the supplementary housing agreement".
(7) Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (line 34), before "make", insert "so far as is reasonably practicable to do so—".
This bill, as we know, reforms housing-related payments to the states and territories by, importantly, requiring greater accountability and transparency of Commonwealth funding received by states and territories. A new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement will be created through a primary housing agreement and supplementary housing agreements, as defined by the bill. These amendments provide for certainty and clarity around the conditions for payments in relation to the primary and supplementary housing agreements.
The concerns of some stakeholders, including, most notably, the states and territories, have been listened to and responded to in these amendments. The amendments will allow states and territories to receive funding under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement provided that they are party to the agreement just for part of the financial year. The amendments also allow some administrative flexibility when there are genuine reasons that the states have not met the strict requirements for payments, such as circumstances where a website outage means that the state strategy is not publicly available. These changes complement the government's other housing affordability measures announced in the bill and just clarify some aspects of the bill. I, therefore, commend these amendments.
Question agreed to.
(1) Schedule 1, item 4, page 7 (after line 17), at the end of section 15C, add:
(9) The following are matters for the State:
(a) the accuracy (or likely accuracy) of the level of housing supply indicated in the housing strategy mentioned in subsection (5);
(b) the quality or effectiveness (or likely quality or effectiveness) of the reforms and initiatives included in that housing strategy;
(c) the quality or effectiveness (or likely quality or effectiveness) of the reforms or initiatives included in the homelessness strategy mentioned in subsection (6).
This is a government without a housing strategy which insists that, to get funding, the states and territories have to have a housing strategy. This is a government which doesn't have any meaningful policies when it comes to housing affordability but brings in legislation trying to blame the states for the lack of a housing strategy. And the states, led by that well known socialist Dominic Perrottet, the Treasurer of New South Wales, complain so much about their treatment at the hands of the federal Treasurer that they've created a new organisation of state treasurers at which the federal Treasurer is not welcome to attend. That's how angry they were about their treatment in this legislation.
This amendment makes it clear that the quality or effectiveness of state or territory housing strategies and homelessness strategies and the accuracy of the level of housing supply in state and territory housing strategies are a matter for that state or territory—not a matter for the Treasurer, who can't even get his own housing affordability plan in order. These amendments address the concerns that states have raised—not just Labor states but conservative states as well. I thank all states for their interactions with me and the opposition as we have dealt with this matter. I commend the amendment to the House. I understand the government will support the amendment; even they know that this has to pass.
Question agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.