To ensure the Housing Australia Future Fund legislation passes before the end of the June sittings, the Greens have made significant concessions and halved their offer to the government.
This is a compromise that focuses on tackling the housing crisis immediately, given that Labor’s plan is unlikely to deliver any homes before the next election and doesn’t deal with the imminent ‘valley of death’ from the loss of up to 24,000 affordable NRAS rental properties over the next 3 years that Federal Labor is cutting funding for.
The most recent Guardian Essential polling shows support for freezing rental increases is now at 60% across the country.
The Greens will pass the government’s HAFF Bill in June if:
- The government takes immediate interim action on a freeze on rent increases and rent caps at the upcoming National Cabinet and National Housing Ministers meetings. This would be done by offering the states and territories an additional incentive fund of $1 billion a year (through the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement), in return for imposing a 2 year freeze on rent increases, ongoing rent caps and improved renters rights. Funding could be spent on both purchasing rental homes exiting the NRAS scheme or otherwise vacant unused housing for public housing.
- Guarantee at least $2.5 billion a year spent directly on public, community and affordable housing, starting now. Labor’s plan likely won’t see new houses delivered until after the next election, and in the meantime the problem will get worse with NRAS homes coming out of the system. Rather than waiting 24 months for the Fund to complete a single new home, the spend must begin this year, with some of the money directed towards immediate interventions including purchasing affordable rental homes exiting the NRAS scheme, off-the-plan homes or otherwise vacant unused housing. This sum is half of the Greens original proposal and less than 1/10th of the average annual cost of the Stage 3 tax cuts.
Lines attributable to Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP
“The Greens have shifted, and it is time for Labor to do the same.
“If Labor backs a rent freeze and guarantees real money for more housing, the Greens will pass Labor’s bill.
“The Greens have shown we can negotiate with Labor and get significant outcomes for people and the climate. We strengthened the Safeguard Mechanism, we secured the Housing Electrification package and we fast tracked cheaper Electric Vehicles for the country. We’re now trying to fix the broken HAFF Bill, but Labor has to shift.”
Lines attributable to Greens spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness Max Chandler-Mather MP
“The Greens are more than willing to negotiate, and we’ve halved our initial demand of the government, but our message remains crystal clear.
“Labor is leaving renters behind. Renters need action now, not after the next election, and we need real cash on the table for public housing.
“If Labor can spend over $30b a year on Stage 3 tax cuts for the wealthy, they can find $3.5b a year to fund a rent freeze and more public and affordable housing.
“Rents are soaring under Labor and 60% of people back the Greens’ push for a rent freeze.
“From day one we have sought to reach a compromise with Labor to pass a bill that will actually start to tackle the scale of the housing crisis, yet Labor has yet to offer a single extra dollar of ongoing funding for public housing, or take action to progress a freeze on rent increases.
“With declining private construction activity freeing up skills and materials, Australia has the capacity to build more public and affordable housing, and the Government can certainly afford $3.5 billion a year; really the only barrier is the Labor Party who seem to have decided the housing crisis doesn’t matter.
“Labor’s plan won’t see a single home built until 2025, while it does nothing for the millions of renters about to cop massive rent increases, and certainly does nothing for the 24,000 families about to lose their affordable NRAS homes as a result of Labor’s cuts, so of course the Greens are pushing for action that helps people right now.
“The Greens have now moved a long way, so the question for Labor is, are they really saying they’d rather do nothing to tackle the housing crisis than agree to $3.5 billion of investment in public and affordable housing and a national freeze on rent increases.
“With wall to wall Labor governments all across the mainland, there’s no reason why National Cabinet can’t agree to freeze rent increases immediately and stop the rental crisis in its tracks.
“Labor’s Federal budget will hand $12 billion for property investors and locks in $30 billion a year for the Stage 3 tax cuts, it is beyond comprehension that Labor would refuse to invest just $3.5 billion on public housing and a rent freeze in the middle of one of the worst housing crises Australia has seen.”