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Affordable Housing Under Scrutiny

12 December 2013 at 4:43 pm
Lina Caneva
An inquiry into Australia’s Affordable Housing has been established under the Senate Economics References Committee in Canberra.

Lina Caneva | 12 December 2013 at 4:43 pm


Affordable Housing Under Scrutiny
12 December 2013 at 4:43 pm

An inquiry into Australia’s Affordable Housing has been established under the Senate Economics References Committee in Canberra.

Labor Senator Jan McLucas succeeded in getting the inquiry through the Senate during the final hours of Federal Parliament for 2013.

“There are a number of economic, social and infrastructure factors determining housing affordability,” Senator McLucas said.

“While there has been significant recent investment into housing, pressures on affordability of housing in Australia have continued to intensify, especially in capital cities and mining communities.”

The inquiry is set to investigate the role of all levels of government in facilitating affordable home-ownership and affordable private rental, including:

a. the effect of policies designed to encourage home ownership and residential property investment;

b.the taxes and levies imposed by the Commonwealth, state and territory, and local governments;

c. the effect of policies designed to increase housing supply;

d.the operation,effect and future of the National Rental Affordability Scheme;

e. the regulatory structures governing the roles of financial institutions and superannuation funds in the home lending and property sectors;

f. the operation and effectiveness of rent and housing assistance programs.

As well, it will investigate the impacts, including social implications, of public and social housing policies on housing affordability and the role of all levels of government in providing public and social housing.

“Importantly for the Not for Profit sector the inquiry will examine the role and contribution of the community housing sector in delivering social and affordable rental housing, the need to increase the supply of accessible and adaptable housing, and housing that is culturally appropriate,” the terms of the inquiry said.

Senator McLucas said the Abbott Government’s recent actions in the housing and homelessness space had caused concern that the issue was being shelved by the government.

“It has been a less than promising start by the government on the serious issue of housing affordability and homelessness following the axing of the highly regarded and utilised National Housing Supply Council as well as the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness.

“The housing affordability inquiry is a welcome step in continuing to properly examine the challenges Australia is facing and keeping the issue firmly on the agenda,” she said. 

Not for Profits working in the housing and homelessness area have welcomed the inquiry saying it will be far reaching.

“This is good news because affordable housing is such a big issue”, Heather Holst the CEO of Not for Profit housing provider Homeground said.

“The problem has been the different responsibilities around affordable housing that are so diversely held.”

Community Housing Federation of Australia Executive Director Carol Croce welcomed the inquiry and was pleased the terms of reference were so comprehensive. 
"Affordable housing is a complex area and there are many pieces to the puzzle – government policies, tenant needs and aspirations, investment and funding mechanisms, innovative and sustainable building design, just to name a few.  All these areas need to be considered if we are to make any headway in developing a national approach to increasing the supply of affordable housing options," Croce said.
"Community housing providers play a key role in delivering social and affordable housing and we welcome this opportunity to articulate our vision for a vibrant and sustainable affordable housing market."

Homelessness Australia welcomed the Inquiry saying affordable housing is one of the biggest unmet needs in Australia.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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