Yesterday the Greens Party Room met to consider their position on the government’s Housing Australia Future Fund legislation.
At this stage the Greens have resolved to reserve their position on the legislation subject to good faith negotiations with the government.
Party room agreed upon a set of key negotiating aims including:
- A minimum of $5 billion invested in social and affordable housing every year (indexed to inflation) and removing the $500 million cap
- A national plan for renters including the Prime Minister putting a national freeze on rent increases on the national cabinet agenda and an immediate doubling of Commonwealth Rent Assistance in the Budget
- $1 billion investment in remote Aboriginal Housing over 5 years
- All housing funded through the Fund should meet minimum inclusive design standards (Liveable Housing Australia Silver)
The Greens will also make a series of amendments to address operational issues with the Fund, including adding a definition of affordable housing.
The Government has claimed the fund will finance the construction of 30,000 social and affordable homes over five years, which actually see the shortage of social and affordable housing continue to grow. Australia has a shortage of 640,000 social and affordable homes. That shortage will grow by 75,000 in 5 years.
The Greens continue to also have serious concerns about the $500 million spending cap that will see real term cut in spending on housing every year.
Lines attributable to Max Chandler-Mather MP, Greens spokesperson for housing and homelessness:
The Greens have serious concerns about a housing plan that will literally see the housing crisis get worse than it is now, and so will seek to negotiate in good faith with the Labor Government.
Labor’s centrepiece housing legislation locks in permanent real term cuts to housing funding, does nothing for renters, and will see the shortage of social and affordable housing grow, seeing the housing crisis get worse.
Freezing rent increases and doubling Commonwealth Rent Assistance will ensure we provide immediate relief to the millions of households in serious financial stress as a result of soaring rents.
Rather than gambling $10 billion on the stock market and investing sporadic returns capped at $500 million, the Greens want to see a minimum $5 billion invested in social and affordable housing every year.
If the Government had introduced their housing plan last year, it would have seen a $120 million loss through the Future Fund, and literally zero dollars spent on housing. Why should people in need of social and affordable housing be forced to rely on a volatile stock market to receive what should be a basic right?
A $5 billion investment every year could fund hundreds of thousands of good quality public homes over the next decade, clearing the wait lists and ensuring we actually tackle the scale of the housing crisis.
With over 20% of First Nations people living in overcrowded homes, a $1 billion capital investment will help address the shocking inequality in housing outcomes in this country.
Ultimately the Greens are standing on behalf of the millions of people this bill leaves behind whether they are homeless, stuck on social housing waitlists, or struggling to pay the rent, and will fight to make sure Labor doesn’t forget them.