Labor hasn’t given up hope of getting its $10b housing fund through the Senate

Photo: AAP

Labor’s flagship multi-billion dollar housing fund could be revived later this year after a federal government minister vowed to push on with negotiations.

Legislation to set up the fund was rejected by the Senate crossbench, forcing the government to back away from its plan to get it passed during last week’s parliamentary session.

Industry minister Ed Husic is adamant the government has not given up and is still focused on tackling housing affordability.

“Making homes available to low-income earners, being able to help others secure accommodation … the housing affordability future fund is a big part of that,” he told Sky News on Sunday.

“We will work with other parliamentarians, with the Greens and the crossbench, if they are willing to do so.”

Mr Husic declined to make predictions about the future of the fund.

“I’d actually wait until we get close to putting it (before the Senate) before seeing what the actual result is,” he said.

The $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund would finance the construction of 30,000 social and affordable rental homes over five years.

The Greens withheld their vote, arguing it didn’t go far enough to alleviate soaring rents and the party is pushing for a national rent freeze.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said last week a national rent freeze was impossible, branding the idea as “pixie dust”.

Independent ACT senator David Pocock is also holding out for a larger commitment from Labor.

Jacqui Lambie Network senator Tammy Tyrrell said the sticking point for her vote was the lack of a commitment from Labor that 1200 of the new homes would be built in Tasmania.

The government needed the support of the Greens plus two crossbenchers for the housing fund legislation to pass.

The opposition says the fund will be inflationary and put pressure on the budget when restraint is needed.

Parliament will next sit in May for the federal budget.


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