Government lays foundation for social housing upswing

Labor’s nationwide plan to increase social housing is days away from starting, but will take years to put a roof over the heads of some families.

The $9.3 billion, five-year agreement kicks in at the start of the new financial year on Monday and requires states and territories to match the funding.

NSW will receive more than one quarter of the funding ($2.82 billion), closely followed by Victoria ($2.36 billion) while the ACT receives the smallest proportion ($157.4 million).

The Northern Territory, where homelessness has been measured at 12 times the national average rate, is due to receive 3.12 per cent, or $290.2 million.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, whose own story of growing up in public housing is well known, has again championed the plan.

“I know firsthand the life-changing power that a secure roof over your head provides,” he said.

Housing Minister Julie Collins said the historic agreement was part of the Labor government’s $32 billion Homes for Australia strategy.

“This … will provide much-needed funding to support homelessness services across the country and help build more Homes for Australia,” she said.

As the nation turns its attention to escalating rates of domestic and family violence, an additional $1 billion will be invested in specialist crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children through Housing Australia.

As well, up to one million people receiving commonwealth rent assistance will receive a 10 per cent increase to the maximum rate.

Australian Council for Social Services chief Cassandra Goldie put the rent assistance rise in perspective when it was announced in the May budget.

“The modest Commonwealth Rent Assistance increase builds on last year’s rise, giving a single person an extra $9.40 a week if they’re receiving the maximum rate,” she said at the time.

“Based on median rents, private renters receiving JobSeeker or Youth Allowance will still be in deep housing stress because their base rate of payment is so low … even with the increase, they will be paying half of their income in rent alone.”


NSW = $2.82 billion

Victoria = $2.36 billion

Queensland = $1.86 billion

Western Australia = $993.2 million

South Australia = $625.1 million

Tasmania = $195.3 million

Northern Territory = $290.2 million

ACT = $157.4 million


Amanda Parkinson
(Australian Associated Press)


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