Senate debates

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers


4:12 pm

Photo of Jana StewartJana Stewart (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

We are talking about the impact of immigration on housing. I feel I have been directly relevant.

We have inherited an absolute mess of a situation in our nation. Those opposite had almost a decade to do something about it, and all of a sudden they care about putting roofs over people's heads. How shameful and embarrassing to be over there asking these questions of us. Not only are we responding to the housing and rental crisis we've got in this country; we're getting things done. We're making child care cheaper, we're making medicines cheaper, we're delivering 180,000 fee-free TAFE places, we're funding a pay rise for aged-care workers, we're delivering 20,000 new university places and we're providing up to $10,000 for each person who takes up a new energy apprenticeship. We've passed legislation for paid parental leave. We've established 10 days of paid domestic and family violence leave specifically for small-business workers to access from 1 August this year. We're advancing the Voice to Parliament. We got to work to repair our international relations. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, has visited 32 countries since her appointment, five of them more than once. We're getting on with the job of governing this country as well as making a real and practical difference to the life of every Australian.

Almost every one of the measures we've brought to this place has been voted against by those opposite. It's almost like they actually don't want a better future for all Australians. They want to take us back to the time when they were in power and did nothing. Right now we have a bill before this chamber, the Housing Australia Future Fund Bill 2023, which will see a $10 billion investment. The fund will support the government's commitment to delivering 30,000 new social and affordable homes in the next five years. Going directly to the supply issue in response to demand—that's what we're doing. You did nothing. Not only, shamefully, are those opposite going to vote against it; the Greens, who cry about rental affordability and the housing crisis that we've got in this country, are going to team up with the Libs to vote it down. That's because the Greens and the opposition think that they know better than housing experts from across academia, industry and community who have given their views on this housing package. They've described it as 'transformative reform' that will enable the housing needs of more Australians to be met.

When asked if the Senate should move quickly to support the package, the Community Housing Industry Association declared it was 'absolutely urgent'. They also said, 'We have to put something in place right now.' The Urban Development Institute said, 'With every day that passes, it is costing them more and more.' The Property Council said, 'The quicker all of these mechanisms are up and running, the better.' National Shelter described it as 'the most critical housing legislation to be brought forward for the past 10 years'. But the Greens and those opposite are teaming up to vote it down because they don't think that this is a better future for Australians. It's an absolute shame and an indictment of them. I hope that at the end of today, or tomorrow—whenever we go to a vote on this bill—those opposite and the Greens will front up to the Australian people and tell them why they don't care about easing the cost-of-living pressures on the Australian people, why they don't care about helping to ease the housing and rental crisis that we've got and why they don't care about the $200 million that is going to the repair and maintenance of remote housing for Indigenous Australians. I hope that you front up to the Australian people when you, the Greens and the opposition, team up to vote this down. Shame on you!


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