The Housing and Homelessness Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) met at Australian Parliament House in Canberra on 20 November 2023. The Ministerial Council welcomed new ministers to their first meeting including Victorian Minister for Housing, the Hon Harriet Shing MP; Northern Territory Minister for Urban Housing, the Hon Ngaree Ah Kit MLA; Queensland Minister for Housing, the Hon Meaghan Scanlon MP and Tasmanian Minister for Housing and Construction, the Hon Nic Street MP.
Ministers acknowledged the significant housing market pressures being experienced by many across the nation and discussed a range of actions being taken by the Commonwealth and all States and Territories (States) to respond.
States have finalised their implementation plans under the $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator (available at: https://treasury.gov.au/housing-policy/shap). The plans outline that the States intend to deliver around 4,000 new social homes by 2028. This will permanently increase the nation’s social housing stock, providing more housing options to those most in need across the country.
States outlined progress of their housing and homelessness initiatives, including a range of approaches to improve the supply and affordability of housing. This included social housing renewal programs, delivering additional housing in regional and remote areas, innovative ‘housing first’ approaches to address long-term homelessness, as well as a variety of planning, land use and tenancy reforms.
In addition to the investments and initiatives being delivered by States to support increasing social housing and housing supply and affordability, the Commonwealth provided an update on implementation of key elements of its housing reform agenda since the Ministerial Council last met in May. This includes legislating the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund and an additional $1 billion in the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to support new social housing.
The Minister for Emergency Management, Senator the Hon Murray Watt provided an update on the seasonal outlook for the 2023-24 higher risk weather season and work to strengthen emergency relief coordination, including in relation to emergency and temporary accommodation, being progressed through the National Emergency Management Minister’s Meeting.
The Chair of the interim National Housing Supply and Affordability Council (NHSAC), Ms Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, provided a briefing on NHSAC’s Barriers to Institutional Investment, Finance and Innovation in Housing Report and its recommendations. The Ministerial Council discussed opportunities to progress reforms and agreed to report back on responses to recommendations at the next meeting.
The Ministerial Council continues to oversee the development of the National Housing and Homelessness Plan (Plan). The Commonwealth, supported by the States, has been undertaking a range of consultation activities across Australia. These activities will inform the Plan and included:
- the release of an Issues Paper on 7 August 2023;
- a public submission process which received around 500 submissions and responses;
- nearly 50 face-to-face community forums, Yarning Circles, and stakeholder roundtables; and
- 15 targeted online webinars and two national public webinars.
This consultation feedback will inform the vision and development of the Plan.
Ministers confirmed their agreement to work together to deliver the Help to Buy Scheme in 2024.
Ministers also agreed:
- To extend the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement Data Improvement Plan to 30 June 2024;
- For States to report on agreed reforms under National Cabinet’s A Better Deal for Renters and The National Planning Blueprint at the next Ministerial Council meeting;
- That States bring a paper to the Council’s next meeting on a nationally consistent approach to affordable housing, including a work plan and timetable; and
- To continue discussions to support a transition to a new outcomes focused funding arrangements.
The Ministerial Council will next meet in the first quarter of 2024.