Housing, health to fore at new-look national cabinet

National cabinet will meet in Queensland on Friday – with Chris Minns taking over from Dominic Perrottet as NSW premier.

National cabinet will meet in Queensland on Friday – with Chris Minns taking over from Dominic Perrottet as NSW premier. Photo: AAP

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has put housing and health on the agenda as he prepares to host a national cabinet meeting with a difference.

State and territory leaders will join Mr Albanese for a dinner in Queensland on Thursday night, ahead of Friday’s meeting.

It will mark the first national cabinet where every mainland state’s first minister is a Labor politician. NSW Premier Chris Minns, whose government was elected a month ago, will join the meeting for the first time.

Mr Albanese said health and housing would be at the top of Friday’s agenda, as the federal government puts the finishing touches to its budget. It will be handed down on May 9.

“One of the things that you will see at national cabinet tomorrow, I’m very confident will provide a framework for a better future for our federation,” he said on Thursday.

“I’ve already had very constructive discussions with all of the state premiers and chief ministers.

“Healthcare will be on the agenda, as will housing issues and other issues in which we need that co-operation between states, greater consistency, but also that co-operation between the federal government and the state government.

“I’m very confident that tomorrow’s meeting will be a very positive one in the lead-up to the budget, which will be handed down now in less than two weeks’ time.”

The focus on housing comes as the Greens threaten the future of the government’s signature housing package, which is stalled in the Senate. The package would release an estimated $500 million to fund affordable and social housing, but Labor does not have a majority in the Senate so needs Greens backing.

In a fiery speech at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Greens leader Adam Bandt named his price for supporting the legislation.

His party wants a $5 billion fund for housing, which the Greens say would deliver 200,000 new government homes, and a freeze on rents nationally, which it wants funded through a $4.8 billion transfer to the states.

In all, the measures proposed by the Greens cost about $70 billion.

“This government is increasingly becoming a steady as she goes, tick-a-box government, that just says ‘oh, well, if there’s a housing crisis, here’s our housing policy’, and tick and job done,” Mr Bandt said.

“Saying that we’re a little bit less crap than Scott Morrison [is] not what the country needs right now in the crises we’re facing.”

Housing affordability hits shocking new low

The reality of Australia’s rental crisis was laid bare in an Anglicare Australia survey released on Thursday. It revealed less than 1 per cent of rentals are affordable for people earning a full-time minimum wage.

It is the worst result recorded by the agency’s rental affordability snapshot, which surveyed nearly 46,000 listings across Australia.

For most people on low incomes, rent needs to be no more than 30 per cent of the household budget to avoid financial stress.

With this benchmark, 0.8 per cent of rentals were affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage, and less than 0.5 per cent for people on the age or disability pension.

The survey found no rentals were affordable for people on Youth Allowance, and a single parent on welfare payments would have to compete for the 0.1 per cent of affordable listings.

Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said the private rental market was failing Australians on low incomes.

“Each year we think the market couldn’t get any worse, and each year we’re shocked to see that it can,” she said.

“If full-time wage earners are doing it tough, then people on Centrelink payments don’t stand a chance.”

Mr Albanese said solving housing challenges required co-operation between state and federal governments. He said national cabinet’s discussion would inform measures in the looming budget.

-with AAP

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.