States and territories guaranteed 1200 affordable homes

Photo: AAP

Every state and territory is set to receive a guaranteed 1200 affordable homes across the next five years.

Housing Minister Julie Collins says the floor will ensure all jurisdictions get their fair share through the government’s signature housing fund, despite obvious size differences between states such as NSW and Tasmania.

“The other biggest states will get their fair share, they will get a lot more than the floor. What we are talking about here is about a floor,” Ms Collins told ABC Radio on Thursday.

“It’s also about allowing some of the community housing providers some surety of pipeline, particularly in smaller jurisdictions, so they can grow.

“There will be certainty of funding for long-term projects for investors over the long term.”

Tasmanian independent senator Tammy Tyrrell forced the guarantee from the government in exchange for her vote in the Senate to pass the fund.

The government is struggling to garner support for its housing future fund, which would leverage $10 billion and invest the profits into affordable and social housing up to $500 million each year.

“This is a massive victory for Tasmania,” Senator Tyrrell said.

“Without this guarantee, we would be looking at maybe 600 homes, depending on how the market performs.

“This guarantee doubles the amount of homes Tasmania will receive, in the same amount of time, regardless of the performance of the future fund.”

The opposition says it will not support the bill, arguing it would be inflationary and add to interest rate hikes due to the amount of money that would need to be borrowed to float the fund.

The Greens are also withholding support in the hope of securing more investment and a rent freeze.

Negotiations continue with crossbencher David Pocock, with the vote of a second independent on top of the Greens needed to pass the legislation in the Senate.

The ACT independent says he is frustrated at the pace of negotiations with the government, but won’t stand in the way of the fund.

Senator Pocock said if the government is expecting a nine per cent average return based on historical means, it should be investing $900 million annually.

He is also calling for the money to be indexed.

“I do expect the government to take on board advice from experts around indexing the fund or allowing it to disperse more when it returns more,” Senator Pocock said.

“And $500 million now is not the same as $500 million in 10 years’ time.”

He said the 1200 figure wouldn’t make a huge dent in the nation’s capital, with the ACT set to lose 1056 national rental affordability scheme properties when it finishes in 2026.

“This is not a huge net gain for us,” Senator Pocock said.

“The starting point for me has been the scale. This $10 billion fund is not up to the scale of the housing challenge we see.”

Senator Tyrrell is urging the Greens in Tasmania to support the bill, given the government’s guarantee.

“We’ve fought to get Tasmania its fair share. The Greens are threatening to leave us with nothing,” she said.

Federal, state and territory housing ministers met in Canberra on Wednesday and discussed measures to increase affordable housing stock and take pressure off renters.

All ministers signed a letter to federal senators urging them to support the passing of the housing fund, including the sole Liberal minister, Tasmania’s Guy Barnett.


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