Today we are here to launch the report, A Stark Reality.
The word ‘stark’ is spot on.
The stark reality is that the nation is at a critical turning point.
As Mike Zorbas plainly states in the report’s introduction, “Without decisive action we will compound our failure to supply enough affordable housing and choice for a growing nation over the coming decade.”
I couldn’t agree more.
We don't have enough homes. We need to build more and we need to build them sooner, and I'm looking forward to getting on with the job.
The Albanese Government is taking decisive action, with a focus on co‑investment and collaboration to better align our values with social and economic goals.
By doing so, together we will ensure more Australians have access to safe, secure and affordable housing, as well as better housing choices that are close to work, schools and transport.
The report sets out 3 calls to action for policy makers:
- To create more choice in housing types.
- To improve affordability.
- To plan for growth.
This week I have the honour of introducing to Parliament our ambitious housing legislative package.
The National Housing Supply and Affordability Council Bill 2023 is part of that package. It enshrines the independence of the Council in legislation.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Council members of the interim National Housing Supply and Affordability Council, and Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, Chair of the interim Council, in particular.
We want to ensure the Government’s housing investment agenda is – and continues to be – underpinned by independent expert advice. Which is exactly what Ms Lloyd-Hurwitz and the Council will provide.
Independent advice and reliable data ensure we stay on track to our ultimate goal – a sufficient supply of appropriate housing for Australians.
The Government’s vision for the Council is for a truly independent body that delivers thoughtful, expert analysis and advice to guide our approach to housing policy.
We want the Council to focus on solving complex problems that contribute to affordability challenges. In other words, the answers to the questions: “Where to from here?” and “How do we get there?”
And we want it to do this by drawing together the best sources of evidence to report on the state of housing supply, demand and affordability.
Once created, these reports will be vital for many stakeholders across the sector – including the Property Council and other organisations in the audience today.
Government and industry have been working together.
The housing legislative package, and the National Housing Accord, required extensive collaboration.
We want to continue working with the Property Council of Australia, governments, community housing providers, the construction sector and industry to quickly get good-quality homes on the ground in the right places.
This is just the beginning – we have a long way to go.
But we are heading in the right direction.
Many of the aspirations outlined in the Property Council’s report are shared by this Government.
It is reflected in both the policy choices we have already made and the legislative package I will soon introduce.
The Albanese Government is creating more choice in housing types that include social and affordable housing, and planning for growth by:
- Agreeing to commission the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council to review barriers to institutional investment, finance and innovation in housing.
- Establishing the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund to support 30,000 new social and affordable dwellings in the first 5 years of the Fund’s operation.
- Expanding and broadening the Home Guarantee Scheme, including delivering our Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee three months ahead of schedule which has already helped more than 1,700 Australians into home ownership.
- Broadening the remit of the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to allow it to support new social and affordable housing, in addition to financing critical housing infrastructure such as roads, electricity and gas.
- Establishing the Housing Policy Partnership, which comes under Priority Reform One of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
- Announcing the development of the National Housing and Homelessness Plan.
We also know there are barriers to the supply of suitable land to support the quantum of housing we need.
Many of these barriers are the result of policies at different levels of government.
Through the Housing Accord we secured a commitment from each jurisdiction to remove these barriers, in particular to undertake meaningful reform of the planning and land use systems across the country.
The shared ambition to build a million new homes will require meaningful change and we are looking at ways we can ensure each level of government does their bit.
Planning and land use reform will take time, it will take coordination, and will require a meaningful and honest discussion.
This will be easier if the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council has evidence and data that it will work.
We’re also working on much needed policy changes that are linked to the nation’s housing challenges.
For example, changes to migration program planning, visa processing and TAFE programs will help address skills and labour shortages in the residential housing construction industry.
By expanding the downsizer scheme for superannuation so Australians aged 55 and over can contribute home sale proceeds into their superannuation, we expect housing stock to be freed-up for young families looking to buy.
This web of interconnected issues extends further than just investment, super, migration, skills and labour. It also encompasses supply chains, forestry and timber, social services, telecommunications, climate change and disaster readiness.
Later this week when I introduce the housing legislative package to Parliament, I will be putting forward policy that represents the efforts of innumerable stakeholders – including all of you here today.
The housing challenges that so many Australians currently face – and have faced for some time – is one of the country’s most complex and persistent public policy issues.
We need independent, evidence-based policy; co-investment and collaboration; and continuous dialogue between all tiers of governments and industry.
I congratulate the Property Council of Australia on the launch of Part One of its thought leadership series, and I look forward to reading subsequent releases.