The official launch of the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund today has been welcomed by the development industry as the federal government sets a target of building 30,000 new social and affordable rental homes over the next five years.
However, in a sobering reminder from the Housing Industry Association (HIA), the target represents just 2.5 per cent of the housing target set by the government to meet demand for new homes.
The fund has been touted by the government as the ‘single biggest investment to support social and affordable housing in more than a decade’ by providing a secure funding source for new homes.
“The $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund is a secure, ongoing pipeline of funding for social and affordable rental housing,” says Federal Housing Minister Julie Collins.
“This will mean more Australians have a safe and affordable place to call home.”
The fund is among a series of measures introduced by the government to help deliver 1.2 million homes to the market over the next five years, including a $3 billion New Homes Bonus, a $500 million Housing Support Program, and a $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator to deliver thousands of new social homes across Australia.
HIA managing director Jocelyn Martin has welcomed the official launch of the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) today, describing it as an important initiative to build 30,000 social and affordable homes.
“HIA is also pleased to see the establishment of Housing Australia, a new entity to oversee the HAFF and other key programs as part of the housing reform agenda.”
But Martin says with a government-set target of 1.2 million homes being built over five years from July next year, broader reforms for the industry are needed to achieve this goal.
“It is important to recognise that the commitment to supply 30,000 social and affordable homes via the HAFF represents only 2.5 per cent of this aspirational target,” Martin says.
“Broader reforms are required to address the current housing shortages and aid the private sector in enabling the delivery of the targets.”
Among the reforms being sought by HIA are faster approval timeframes and a lift in higher density residential development in existing suburbs near jobs and transport.
HIA is also seeking the expedited release of greenfield and brownfield land, accompanied by the provision of infrastructure to support housing in these areas.
Among other measures, HIA has called for ‘punitive taxes’ on both investors and owner occupiers to be abolished and replaced with fairer and broader sources of revenue, and an easing of financial regulations to make it easier for banks to lend and home buyers to borrow.
“Without these broader reforms, the pressure on social and affordable housing will remain, and the continued under supply of housing of all forms will only increase,” Martin says.
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