Senate debates

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers


4:23 pm

Photo of Raff CicconeRaff Ciccone (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Today we've heard some really interesting contributions by senators, and particularly some interesting interjections, on the topic of housing and rental affordability. You'd think that this government had been in power for the last decade. Yet those opposite, who were here on the treasury bench for a full decade, wasted an opportunity to really address not just the rental crisis that we're currently facing but the housing market and are now somehow trying to blame Labor for their failures over the last nine years.

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation's State of the nation's housing 2022-23 report, which was released last month, shows and confirms the need for all government, industry and housing stakeholders to work together in order to improve the housing outcomes for Australians, particularly the most vulnerable Australians. It confirms that the proposed Housing Australia Future Fund that the Labor government is putting forward here in the parliament will in actual fact double the number of new social housing dwellings, adding to the stock each year for at least the five years from the year 2024, when compared to the period between 2006 and 2021. The minister has confirmed that the fund is an absolutely important policy that this government is determined to ensure will pass this parliament. This government will work with those in this parliament to address the housing challenges that we are currently facing. The report is another reminder that too many Australians, particularly those who are vulnerable, are struggling to secure safe and affordable housing. No matter the part of the country, this is a crisis that we're all trying to address. The findings highlight the need to pass legislation that is currently before this parliament and before this Senate to establish the $10 billion fund that we have discussed time and time again.

I would just remind senators that this fund will deliver 30,000 new social and affordable dwellings in the first five years. Thirty thousand is nothing to sneeze at. It will create a secure and ongoing pipeline of funding for social and affordable housing over the long term. The last time we saw a significant investment was during the term of the previous Labor government. The Rudd government did see a massive investment in housing. Again, it has taken a Labor government to put real money, real dollars, on the table to address the housing crisis, particularly for those in social housing. It's not those opposite, who claim to pretend to look after those who are most vulnerable in our society, as we've heard from some of the contributions today; it has taken the Albanese Labor government to finally say: 'Enough is enough. We need to address the housing crisis.'

We are trying to unlock that $575 million through the National Housing Infrastructure Facility and invest it in social and affordable housing. So far, through the National Housing Accord, we've brought together state and territory governments, the Australian Local Government Association, investors and the construction sector. That sets a shared ambition to build one million new homes over five years from 2024 to help increase supply. We've also recently committed $67 million to boost funding to states and territories over the next year to help tackle homelessness and $91 million over the next three years to combat youth homelessness through the Reconnect program. In addition, we are developing a 10-year national housing and homelessness plan. It's important to put some of these facts on the table in terms of what this government is trying to do in the first 12 months of being elected to government.

It was really heartening to see reports that the government had welcomed the support of the Jacqui Lambie Network, and I want to congratulate Senators Lambie and Tyrrell for their support of this very important policy that the government is trying to navigate through the Senate. The changes that were announced will obviously see many people benefit from the fund. These are important steps to making available a minimum of 1,200 dwellings in each state or territory over the first five years from the establishment of this fund, which will also ensure that no state or territory misses out on dwellings under the Albanese government. That is something that should be repeated: 1,200 dwellings. (Time expired)


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