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Labor, Greens strike deal to deliver $10 billion housing fund

Allowing people to access their super for a deposit isn't going to help people enter the housing market.

Allowing people to access their super for a deposit isn't going to help people enter the housing market. Photo: Getty

Labor has secured a breakthrough with the Greens that will allow its $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund to pass federal parliament.

The fund is expected to generate 30,000 social and affordable homes over five years.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Housing Minister Julie Collins said in a joint statement the bill would pass the Senate later this week.

In addition to the $10 billion, the federal government will invest $1 billion in the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to support new homes.

“This $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund is the single biggest investment from the federal government in more than a decade in social and affordable housing in this country,” Ms Collins told Parliament on Monday.

“For the first time the Commonwealth government will have a legislative mandate to finance and support social and affordable housing right across the country.

“It will be there in perpetuity. Not just for this government, not just for the first five years of the fund, but there in perpetuity with returns going into higher social and affordable housing. This will change housing in Australia.”

She thanked the Greens and crossbench MPs for their support.

“We are getting this done together because it is important for people on the ground. It has always been for people, people who are waiting for social and affordable homes across this country,” she said.

Mr Albanese also talked up Monday’s breakthrough.

“I thank the leader of the Greens for the constructive discussions that we have had … we have had the Coalition obsessed, as they are, with just saying no to everything,” he said.

“They marginalise themselves, they sit in the corner and just say no to everything because that is just their response. The Coalition of yesterday has turned into the ‘noalition’ of today.”

Greens continue call for rent freezes

Greens leader Adam Bandt said the latest pledge of a further $1 billion came on top of $2 billion extra previously promised by the government to pass the bill.

“Labor’s plan won’t fix the housing crisis but $3 billion going out the door this year that is not dependent on a gamble in the stock market will make a difference,” he said.

“Having secured that $3 billion, the Greens are prepared to support the legislation.”

But Mr Bandt said the party could not get the government to budge on its refusal to consider rent caps or freezes.

“One thing is very clear now … pressure works,” he said.

“Our focus will now shift to securing rent caps and a rent freeze. There is legislation still to come during the course of this Parliament and the Greens are in balance of power.”

Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather said the party hadn’t abandoned renters.

“We said we would negotiate in good faith. We wanted extra funding for public and community housing and wanted action for renters,” he said.

“Ultimately we are pragmatic and know we won’t be able to get everything we want. But this should be a very clear message to the population – there is one party throughout this entire process who made it very clear we were fighting for a freeze and a cap on rent increases and another party who was refusing to do so.”

Earlier on Monday, independent MP Helen Haines introduced a bill aimed at “unlocking” social and affordable housing in rural and regional areas.

The Unlocking Regional Housing bill would amend the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Act to ensure at least 30 per cent of funding goes to regional, rural and remote areas.

Ms Haines said the fund did not have any guaranteed funding for these areas.

“With almost 30 per cent of the population living outside major cities, regional Australians deserve their fair share of housing funding,” she told parliament on Monday.

“I acknowledge the government has made multiple funding announcements for housing supply in recent months, but not one of these is dedicated to regional rural and remote Australia.

“There is a blind spot that I am seeking to fix. We need action now.”

-with AAP

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