Minister Collins Interview on Triple M Hobart Breakfast


TOPICS: Home Guarantee Scheme expansion, the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, the Housing Australia Future Fund

WOODY, HOST: Triple M Breakfast with Woody and Tubes.

TUBES, HOST: Right now on the phone we’ve got the Federal Member for Franklin, Minister Julie Collins, the Minister for Housing, the Minister for Homeless and the Minister for Small Business. A very good morning to you, Minister.

JULIE COLLINS, MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND MINISTER FOR HOMELESSNESS: Good morning. How are you all and your listeners today?

TUBES: We're going great, we're going great.

WOODY: You've got an announcement to make on behalf of the government this morning, Julie; is that right?

COLLINS: That's right. Yes, we're expanding the Home Guarantee Scheme from today.
TUBES: So, what does that mean?

COLLINS: So, that means there will be 35,000 places each financial year to first home buyers to purchase a home with a deposit of as little as five per cent.

WOODY: Right.

TUBES: But you're also doing something for those single parents out there with dependants as well.

COLLINS: That's right. So, there will be 5,000 places each year for single parents with dependants to purchase a home with a deposit of as little as two per cent, and it's called the Family Home Guarantee.

TUBES: That's fantastic news. I just wanted to touch on the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, which will build 30,000 social and affordable housing properties in its first five years. Of that 30,000 affordable homes, how many will be built in southern Tasmania?

COLLINS: Well, that will depend on how much we work with the State Government, Local Government and the community housing providers here in our state. Obviously, you know, being a local Tasmanian, I would want to ensure that every State, including my own, gets their fair share of these homes. But we're talking about a very significant investment from a Federal Government for the first time in a long time in social and affordable housing in the country. 

WOODY: And we're so stoked to hear a Tasmanian being given the profiles that you have, because you would have seen how much it's changed being a Tasmanian over the years. It's just been heartbreaking to see people priced out of the market and the homelessness.

COLLINS: Absolutely. Even before I was the Housing Minister, as a local Federal Member of Parliament, my office was getting contacted all the time by people who can't get a home and, you know, people who are working often two incomes in the family coming in saying their lease is running out, they can't rent anywhere else, they don't know what to do. It's just heartbreaking. So many Tasmanians and so many Australians are finding it tougher to rent because the rents are going up. They’re finding it tougher to buy because house prices going up. People have been doing it really tough.

WOODY: It is heartbreaking to see, and we get so many calls and text messages every day. Julie Collins, I want to get to the homelessness in just a second, but, first of all, as we just said the landscape of the housing market has changed so much over the last decade. Is there any assistance out there for people who maybe have been in the market before but can't break back in, whether it's through separation or divorce or financial issues?

COLLINS: So, we will have that program. We obviously need to get that up and running and that's our Help to Buy Program and that's where you can have the government have joint equity in your home. There are some price caps on it, but the government would have up to 40 per cent equity in your home.

WOODY: So, would there be conditions around that? So obviously you do not have a home now. But would there be a time period, like, you can't have owned in the last five years?

COLLINS: We're working out that detail but certainly the people who have had a home before who find themselves in a situation where they want to purchase a home and they don't have a home will be able to be assisted by that program.

TUBES: I think as a Tasmanian, Julie, it's really important to know what's happening around you, and you're obviously a big part of the community down here as we are. We grew up here. One thing I've noticed lately is the increase of homelessness around Tasmania and people living in tents, living on the streets. What's being done to house the homeless this winter?

COLLINS: Yeah, that's a much tougher issue because, of course, getting new housing supply takes time. It doesn't matter how quickly we move and, you know, how quickly State and Local Governments can get approvals and get things happening, it still takes time to build more houses at the scale that we're going to need to build them. The other thing that the Federal Government does is that it supports the state is called the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, which is $1.7 billion per year, and some of that funding goes towards supporting people who are homeless. Anybody who finds themselves in that situation, I would say the earlier you identify you're at risk of homelessness, if you contact the Housing Connect lines in southern and northern Tasmania, those Housing Connect lines, the earlier you can get in and get support, the better off and the more chance you've got of staying in some affordable and safe housing.

WOODY: And I think it's important not to – I would like to see all three levels of government working together, so, Local, State and Federal, because it is like a multi-pronged approach or attack that we need to solve this. You’ve got councils that can release more land or open up some of their assets like halls, and then you've got State that can offer some assistance working with Federal Government as well. Is that happening at the moment?

COLLINS: Well, certainly, I've been having conversations with State Ministers. I'm hoping to get them all together in coming weeks. And we do want to work with the other tiers of government. No single government can solve this on their own. We need all three tiers of government, we need the private sector and the community housing sector all going in the same direction, which is why we want to develop the National Housing and Homelessness Plan where we get everybody to agree on the things that we can agree on and go in that direction and some of the things we don't agree on we can work a bit harder on and try to see if there's any leeway in the things that we can work on together; because the only way to solve this is everyone working together and that's certainly what we want to do, and that's why I think Anthony Albanese as Prime Minister has put this in Federal Cabinet. He's stepped up and we have some really serious housing policies to try to support the States and Territories, but also Local Government, in trying to get more housing supply.

WOODY: Yeah. What is Albo like as a boss?

COLLINS: He's great actually. I've known him for a long time, which is a very good thing –

TUBES: Well, Federal Member for Franklin –

WOODY: Sorry, what was that?

COLLINS: He's also very passionate, obviously, about housing having grown up in public housing so he gets it.

WOODY: Absolutely. And although I did see that the Canadian, was it, Prime Minister, forgot his name this morning, but that's okay.

COLLINS: If I was the Canadian Prime Minister, I wouldn't call him “Tony”, though. It's “Albo” or “Prime Minister”.

TUBES: Federal Member for Franklin Julie Collins, thanks so much for joining us on Triple M Breakfast with Woody and Tubes.

COLLINS: Thank you, take care.