TOPICS: Housing Accord, Albanese Government’s ambitious housing reform agenda, Budget
TUBES, HOST: It's Triple M Breakfast with Woody and Tubes. We've had a Federal Budget handed down yesterday, late last night, and we're joined by the Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness, and of course the Minister for Small Business, Julie Collins, Member for Franklin, good morning.
JULIE COLLINS, MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND MINISTER FOR HOMELESSNESS: Good morning, and to your listeners there.
WOODY, HOST: We've got to cover off of course on the cost of living and the promises made in particular to Tasmania.
COLLINS: Of course.
WOODY: We did see things in the Budget about childcare subsidies, promises to reduce health care costs, you could save up to like $12.50 a script. We're going to cover off on all of those later, but some of the big ones of course housing, and in particular a million new homes to start in 2024, 10,000 new homes in Tasmania. Is that realistic given the skills shortage?
COLLINS: We've obviously been working closely with other tiers of government, State Government, Local Government, but importantly with the building and construction sector and with the property sector, with community housing providers, and we do understand that in terms of capacity of the building sector at the moment.
But what we want to do is work to get homes on the ground in a staged way. Some of them very quickly through the Housing Infrastructure Facility releasing the $575 million almost immediately to get more homes on the ground more quickly. Then longer term, the Housing Australia Future Fund, $10 billion. They're in perpetuity with the returns of that fund every year investing in affordable and social homes. We expect that fund will deliver 30,000 social and affordable homes in its first five years.
COLLINS: And then of course the Housing Accord that we announced last night is what you're referring to, the million homes over five years from 2024. So this is about making sure that there's capacity in the construction sector but also that we grow the number of dwellings being built in Australia over a time.
TUBES: Who's going to build those houses?
COLLINS: Well obviously it will be the building and construction industry, the tradies across Australia will be building those homes.
TUBES: But don't we have a skills shortage, Minister?
COLLINS: We do indeed. We do indeed. Which is why of course we've also got fee-free TAFE, which is why we're working with the sector, and which is why we're focusing on a Skills Guarantee, which is why we want more apprentices working on those homes right across the country.
This is about training Australians. In the short term, of course, we're increasing skilled migration as well, and we understand that in terms of residential dwellings being built that we expect that will drop off in the second half of next year, because some of the other programs by previous governments have brought forward people building residential homes, and what we need to do is fill that gap as it's going to drop off in the second half of next year.
WOODY: I do like the idea of State, Federal and councils working together because we feel as though that is what's been missing over the last few years. Where you've got that conflict.
COLLINS: Absolutely. I mean we've had ten years of no leadership from Federal Government. This is the Federal Government stepping up to the plate saying no tier of government's going to solve this alone, we all need to work together and that's what we're doing.
WOODY: I do, and as I said it seems like a realistic time frame and I really hope that does happen, because you would see this being from Tasmania, Julie Collins, that people are doing it tough. It breaks my heart seeing people not be able to feed themselves or we've even heard of the university staff not being able to afford food. It's desperately needed.
COLLINS: It's desperately needed, Woody, absolutely.
WOODY: I guess you're trying to, so not starting some building protects until 2024 which may hopefully give you time to upskill, but then you've also got the fee-free TAFE and you've also got childcare subsidies and upping parental and maternal leave. So is all of this aimed at getting those skilled workers back into the workforce?
COLLINS: It's absolutely about getting more skilled Australians into the workforce. It's about improving productivity. So what we're trying to do with this budget is we're trying to reduce cost of living pressures, but not do it in a way that causes inflation to go up and make it tougher for Australians.
So we're doing that by doing the cheaper childcare which, you know, is better for children, it's better for parents' budgets, but importantly it's also better for the nation because, as you say, it frees up workers. And, you know, we're talking about the cheaper childcare has been calculated we think will free up what would be additionally 37,000 full time workers.
WOODY: And I just hope that those subsidies are passed on to the parents because I'd hate to see people profiteering from that, Tubes.
COLLINS: Absolutely, and we're looking at that too.
WOODY: Good, thank you.
TUBES: Minister Julie Collins, was there any money in the budget for an AFL stadium?
COLLINS: There's not, no, but we've got plenty of election commitments that we're delivering on in the Budget. We've got the Hobart Airport upgrade.
COLLINS: The Nyrstar funding you would have seen on the weekend. Money for Derwent Ferries. The Ingham's chicken for their factory to be able to upgrade. And of course investments in major highways right across the State, including the Tasman Highway in southern Tasmania.
TUBES: That is fantastic for you, Woody, because you live down the Tasman Peninsula. So the road down that way does need a little bit of work.
WOODY: A billion dollars also more than a billion dollars I believe we're also going to get in Tasmania as extra from the GST revenues raised, is that correct?
COLLINS: Well that's the forecast. Obviously, you know, that is inflation and what we're saying federally is that of course with that increased revenue for the first two years we are banking that. That's going to savings, we are not spending 99 per cent of those funds, federally. And what we want to do is have that there as a buffer, obviously, and to help pay off deficit and debt.
TUBES: Well, Julie Collins, Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Small Business, we really appreciate you joining us on Triple M Breakfast with Woody and Tubes.
COLLINS: Thanks very much, talk to you next time.