Leaders examine housing agenda
THE NATION’S housing ministers have met for the first time in five years as the new federal government seeks to break ground on its suite of housing policies.
Federal Housing and Homelessness Minister Julie Collins sat down with state counterparts last week, including Victorian Housing Minister Danny Pearson, to discuss plans to tackle Australia’s housing affordability crunch.
Friday’s meeting in Melbourne was the first national conference for housing ministers since October 2017.
“This meeting is the first step to designing and delivering the Albanese government’s housing reform agenda to address the significant challenges across the housing spectrum, from homelessness to housing affordability,” Ms Collins said.
“Housing is central to the wellbeing of all Australians, and all levels of government are committed to ensuring everyone can more easily access safe, affordable housing. All states and territories have agreed to work together on these reforms.”
The new Labor government’s housing policies include a $10 billion fund for 30,000 social and affordable housing properties within five years, a “help to buy” plan that would see the government contribute up to 40 per cent towards a house, and regional first homebuyer supports.
The government has also committed to establishing a national council to tackle housing supply and affordability, and an overall plan for housing and homelessness.
Ms Collins said collaboration with states and territories would be vital to implementing the strategies.
“My state and territory colleagues also discussed the priorities, challenges and housing strategies in their jurisdictions, providing key insights, including how the Albanese government’s initiatives will boost and leverage their recent investments to increase social and affordable housing,” she said.
“I also reaffirmed our commitment to engage with states and territories, local government as well as key stakeholders, to help further design and implement our housing agenda. Through national leadership, our government will maintain its strong focus on stable and affordable housing for all.”
Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison said the meeting was a positive step and called for “innovative funding solutions” to address industry challenges.
“This needs to remain a critical area of policy focus so it is good to see Minister Collins leading this conversation so quickly,” Mr Morrison said.
“The official data continues to show a looming housing supply crunch coming and we know that rental markets are tightening fast.”