The Australian Government is continuing to address housing affordability and homelessness concerns by today agreeing to waive Tasmania’s housing-related debt to the Commonwealth.
In recognition of Tasmania’s unique challenges with housing affordability and homelessness, Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer the Hon Michael Sukkar MP announced that outstanding loans to the Commonwealth of $157.6 million will be waived.
The Tasmanian Government will save $230.2 million in total interest and principal repayments to 2041 42 (end of loan term) and is required to redirect all of their scheduled repayments to programmes that increase access to social housing, reduce homelessness, and improve housing supply across Tasmania.
The Tasmanian Government will consider and pursue reforms to facilitate the necessary local government planning and zoning reforms to support housing supply consistent with future population and economic growth projections.
In addition, the Tasmanian Government will be required to publicly report on how the additional funds will be spent, along with the key actions and outcomes undertaken with these funds in its Budget papers for each relevant financial year.
“The Morrison and Hodgman Governments have worked hand in hand to support the growth ambitions of Tasmania. Waiving this loan will support the Tasmanian Government’s efforts to reduce homelessness, increase access to social housing and improve housing supply across the state” Minister Sukkar said.
“This of course builds on our existing commitment to housing and homelessness through the Hobart City Deal, the Launceston City Deal and $34 million of funding for Tasmania under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement” Minister Sukkar said.
The Hodgman majority Liberal Government Minister for Housing, Roger Jaensch said: “I am very pleased we have worked together to achieve the best possible outcome for our great state and to address this challenging Tasmanian issue.
“Wiping the debt will save up to $15 million annually over coming years in debt and interest payments, which will be used instead to build more social housing for Tasmanians in need. We estimate this could mean around 80 more houses for people on the social housing waiting list across Tasmania, each year.” Mr Jaensch said.
“This is a marvellous result for all Tasmanians and will enable us to build more homes in addition to our Affordable Housing Strategy, underpinned by an investment of almost $200 million over eight years, the largest ever State Government investment into affordable housing in Tasmania’s history.” he said.
The Government acknowledges the advocacy of the Tasmanian Liberal Senate Team, member for Braddon Gavin Pearce MP, member for Bass Bridget Archer MP and Tasmanian independent Senator Jacqui Lambie for these significant reforms.