Housing Australia

The Australian Government understands access to secure and affordable housing has significant social, economic and personal benefits. 

Governments play a significant role in the housing market at two levels. The first is at the structural level, whereby governments determine the policy framework by which the overall market operates. The second is through direct interventions in the market, in circumstances where either the market is unable to provide appropriate outcomes for specific groups of people, or where governments are seeking to achieve specific outcomes. 

While state and territory governments are primarily responsible for the delivery of housing and homelessness services, in 2020-21, the Australian Government expects to spend around $8.4 billion to help improve housing and homelessness outcomes, this includes: 

  • around $5.5 billion in Commonwealth Rent Assistance to help eligible Australians pay their rent; and 
  • around $1.6 billion through the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) to states and territories. 

The NHHA aims to improve Australians’ access to secure and affordable housing across the housing spectrum. Under the NHHA, to receive funding, state and territory governments need to have publicly available housing and homelessness strategies and contribute to improved data collection and reporting. 

The NHHA targets jurisdiction specific priorities including supply targets, planning and zoning reforms and renewal of public housing stock while also supporting the delivery of frontline homelessness services. 

The Plan will provide a better understanding of the current state of housing and homelessness in Australia and the drivers of homelessness and housing insecurity throughout urban, regional, rural and remote Australia. 

Most importantly, the Plan will set out strategies for how all levels of government can work together and with the private and community sector to better support people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. 

The Plan is a key part of the Government’s ambitious reform agenda, which also includes: 

  • a 15% increase to the maximum rates of Commonwealth Rent Assistance to assist low-income renters 
  • the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, the single biggest investment in social and affordable housing by a Federal Government in more than a decade, which will support the delivery of 30,000 social and affordable homes in its first 5 years 
  • a National Housing Accord, setting out a shared ambition to build one million new, well-located homes over 5 years from 2024 
  • an additional $350 million over 5 years from 2024-25 to support funding of 10,000 affordable homes under the Accord 
  • providing tax incentives to support build-to-rent developments to reduce barriers to new supply in the private rental market 
  • increasing the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation’s (NHFIC) liability cap by an additional $2 billion. This will allow NHFIC to provide more loans to community housing providers for social and affordable housing, supporting around an additional 7,000 dwellings 
  • widening the remit of the National Housing Infrastructure Facility, making up to $575 million available to invest immediately in social and affordable rental homes 
  • expanding eligibility for the Home Guarantee Scheme to help more people buy a home sooner 
  • offering states and territories an additional $67.5 million to address homelessness as part of a one year extension to the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA). 

1. Housing Australia Fund (HAFF) 

Policy Objective: The Housing Australia Future Fund  (HAFF) aims to address housing affordability and support the provision of safe and stable housing for Australians. It is designed to stimulate investment in the housing market and increase the supply of affordable housing options. 

The $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund will provide ongoing investment returns to deliver new social and affordable homes as well as investments to address acute housing needs. 

Returns from the fund will deliver the Government’s commitment of 30,000 new social and affordable homes in the fund’s first five years, including 4,000 homes for women and children impacted by family and domestic violence or older women at risk of homelessness. 

The fund will also deliver the Government’s commitments to help address acute housing needs, including: 

  • $200 million for the repair, maintenance and improvement of housing in remote Indigenous communities 
  • $100 million for crisis and transitional housing options for women and children impacted by family and domestic violence and older women at risk of homelessness. 
  • $30 million to build housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or at‑risk of homelessness 

Key Features: 

  • Financial Assistance: The Housing Australia Fund provides financial assistance to various stakeholders involved in the housing sector, including state and territory governments, community housing providers, and private sector entities. 
  • Affordable Housing Projects: The fund supports the development and implementation of affordable housing projects across the country, with a focus on ensuring accessibility to low and middle-income households. 
  • Infrastructure Development: Part of the fund is allocated to infrastructure development projects that promote housing construction and enhance urban planning to create sustainable communities. 
  • Partnerships and Collaborations: The fund encourages partnerships and collaborations between the government, private sector, and non-profit organisations to leverage resources and expertise in addressing housing challenges. 
  • Research and Policy Development: A portion of the fund is dedicated to research initiatives and policy development to better understand housing issues and design effective strategies. 

Social and Affordable Housing Initiatives 

Policy Objective: The Social and Affordable Housing Initiatives policy aims to address homelessness and provide secure and affordable housing options for vulnerable and low-income individuals and families. 

Key Features: 

  • Social Housing Construction: The government invests in the construction of social housing units managed by state and territory governments or community housing providers to cater to the needs of low-income households and individuals facing homelessness. 
  • Rent Assistance: Financial support is provided to eligible low-income renters through Rent Assistance payments to help ease the burden of rental costs. 
  • Homelessness Support Services: Funding is allocated to support various homelessness support services, including emergency shelters, transitional housing, and support programs to help individuals and families transition to stable housing situations. 

Rental Affordability Scheme (RAS) 

Policy Objective: The Rental Affordability Scheme aims to increase the supply of affordable rental properties by providing incentives to investors and developers. 

Key Features: 

  • Incentives to Investors: Investors and developers are provided with financial incentives, including tax offsets and direct payments, to offer rental properties at below-market rates to eligible low and moderate-income tenants. 
  • Long-Term Rental Commitments: To qualify for the incentives, landlords must enter into agreements to rent the properties to eligible tenants at reduced rates for a specified period. 

National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) 

Policy Objective: The National Housing and Homelessness Agreement is a partnership between the Australian Government and state/territory governments to collaboratively address housing affordability and homelessness challenges. 

Key Features: 

  • Funding Allocation: The agreement outlines the funding contributions and responsibilities of both the federal and state/territory governments in various housing and homelessness programs. 
  • Service Delivery Standards: The NHHA sets service delivery standards and targets to measure the effectiveness and impact of housing initiatives and homelessness support services. 
  • Data Collection and Reporting: Regular data collection and reporting mechanisms are established to monitor progress and ensure accountability in achieving the agreed-upon objectives. 

LAND LEASE 

the synopsis can have various implications for Land Lease Communities (LLCs) or Manufactured Homes Communities (MHCs) in Australia. Both LLCs and MHCs are forms of affordable housing options where residents lease the land or own the home while leasing the land. Here’s how the policies relate to these communities: 

  1. Social and Affordable Housing Initiatives: 
  • LLCs and MHCs can play a role in the government’s efforts to provide affordable housing options for vulnerable and low-income individuals and families. They may partner with government agencies to offer social housing units or affordable rental opportunities to eligible residents. 
  • Rent Assistance payments can benefit eligible low-income residents living in MHCs, making it easier for them to afford their lot rents. 
  1. Rental Affordability Scheme (RAS): 
  • Investors and developers in LLCs and MHCs could participate in the Rental Affordability Scheme by offering rental properties at reduced rates to eligible tenants. This could apply to both traditional rental units within the community and rental of individual lots to residents who own manufactured homes. 
  1. National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA): 
  • The NHHA’s funding allocation and service delivery standards can influence the level of support and resources available to LLCs and MHCs that participate in affordable housing initiatives.