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Labor pledges to establish social housing fund

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Annie Kane 8 minute read

The leader of the Australian Labor Party, Anthony Albanese, has pledged to create a $10-billion housing fund to deliver 20,000 social housing properties should the party be elected into power.

After the federal government released its budget 2021-22 last week, the Albanese Labor government responded with its budget reply.

The ALP outlined that, should it be elected into power at the next federal election, it would look to focus on five key areas, including social housing.

Indeed, Mr Albanese outlined that it would create a $10-billion off-budget Housing Australia Future Fund to build social and affordable housing, which the Labor leader said would “create jobs, build homes and change lives”.  

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Over the first five years, the fund would:

  • Build 20,000 new social housing properties, including 4,000 homes for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness;
  • Build 10,000 “affordable homes for the heroes of the pandemic” such as frontline workers, including police, nurses and cleaners;
  • Support 21,500 full-time jobs across the construction industry and broader economy, per year, over five years, nationwide (with one in 10 direct workers on site being apprentices); 
  • Provide $200 million for the repair, maintenance and improvements of housing in remote Indigenous communities;
  • Invest $100 million in crisis and transitional housing for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence, and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness; and  
  • Invest $30 million to build housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness.    

“After the first five years, a portion of the investment returns will be available to fund acute housing needs each year, in perpetuity,” the Labor Party said.

“This funding will be used for additional crisis housing, transitional housing and long-term social housing in parts of the country with the greatest need.”

According to the opposition, over the first five years the value of residential construction work directly supported by the Housing Australia Future Fund would equate to approximately $12 billion and inject over $34.8 billion into the economy.

Delivering his budget reply speech, Mr Albanese said: “The security of a roof over one’s head should be available to all Australians.

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“Young people despair about whether they will ever afford a first home. Families struggle to meet rent payments and older women are the fastest-growing group subject to homelessness.

“I’m proud to say that Labor in government will create a $10-billion Housing Australia Future Fund, with the annual investment return to build social and affordable housing and create thousands of jobs.”

Mr Albanese harked back to his childhood growing up in a council house in Sydney, saying he knew firsthand “the difference governments can make to people’s life – and a safe, secure home is as important as it gets”.

“Our home gave us so much more than somewhere to sleep. It gave my mum and I pride and dignity and security, and it gave me a future… a future that led me here,” he said.

“Our housing plan is good for jobs, too. This initiative will create over 21,500 jobs each year. And one in 10 construction jobs created will be for apprentices.”

Noting that a reported 10,000 women and children fleeing family violence were “turned away from refuges because there wasn’t a bed”, Mr Albanese continued: “We can and we must do better.”

“That’s why 4,000 of the 20,000 social housing properties that we create from this funding will be allocated to women and children experiencing domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes.

“We will also provide $100 million for crisis and transitional housing, for these women at risk,” he said.

Mr Albanese concluded by saying that a Labor government would also help improve, repair and maintain housing for remote Indigenous communities as well as provide $30 million over five years to build “more supportive housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are either living or at risk of homelessness”.

“This is a Future Fund that will give more Australians a future,” he concluded.

Other aspects of the Labor budget included: 

  1. Establishing New Energy Apprenticeships in renewable industries;
  2. Criminalising wage theft in Australia;
  3. Legislating an obligation on employers to keep their employees safe from discrimination and harassment in the workplace; and
  4. Creating a mentoring program for 2,000 young innovators to start a business straight out of university – connected to “experts in their field, backed by universities, and supported by our Labor government”.

‘Speaking to a broker has never been as important for consumers’: Lendi Group CEO

Following the release of the federal government and the Labor budget, Lendi Group CEO David Hyman welcomed that both included measures to provide more housing for more Australians.

“It’s positive to see both Liberal and Labor policies announced in the 2021-22 budget committing to support affordable housing,” he said.

Mr Hyman said Labor’s policies for social and affordable housing was “a great commitment to support more people into affordable homes”, while the federal government’s Family Home Guarantee and FHLDS (New Homes) extension, “aimed at helping first home buyers over the challenging hurdle of saving a deposit”, would help “more young and low-income Australians to realise their goal of home ownership”.

“Both approaches shine a light on the importance of government support,” he said.

Recognising the success of previous measures, such as HomeBuilder, in “funnelling demand into construction and job creation, which is necessary for a healthy economy”, Mr Hyman said that the measures targeting new builds could help “divert first home buyer demand into newly established property, potentially insulating the established market from additional price increases”.

“Ultimately, the measures to support housing affordability are extensions of the current federal government approaches to housing affordability. Making targeted, low-deposit loans available, increasing savings measures, and stimulating demand for construction of new housing, increases the chances for more aspiring home owners to get in the market sooner.

“Ultimately, everybody wins when the Australian economy thrives. 

“Speaking to a broker has never been as important for consumers to be able to realise the opportunities being proposed under budget 2021-22,” he concluded.

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Labor pledges to establish social housing fund
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Annie Kane

Annie Kane

Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.

As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts. 

Email Annie at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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