7 March 2023

Opinion piece: Once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve housing in Australia


Published in The Daily Telegraph

Right now, the reality for Australians trying to find a place to call home is difficult.

Too many Australians are facing or experiencing homelessness and too many of those lucky enough to find a home are being stung by growing rents or mortgage payments. We know this is the case in western Sydney.

The people in Sydney’s southwest are struggling with a higher rate of mortgage stress than the rest of the state. For renters, the rate of housing stress is even higher.

When we were elected in May, we inherited a housing system in disarray. But we were elected with a plan to help address that and we’ve already begun putting it in action.

Recently, I met with housing representatives in Parramatta to talk about what the Albanese government has already done to help ease housing stress.

It was good to travel back to western Sydney after I announced in November a significant new $300 million partnership driven by the federal government to deliver approximately 350 new affordable homes at Westmead.

We’ve already unlocked up to $575 million in funding from the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to be able to invest in new social and affordable homes.

Outside our cities, we’ve begun to ease some of the pressure on the regional rental system and made the path to home ownership easier for people with our Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee – which is already helping thousands of households into their first home.

These were immediate actions taken to help ease pressure on the housing system, but this year is our chance to make a lasting difference for Australians wanting a safe and affordable place to call home.

I’ve also taken the next step in making our $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund a reality, by introducing legislation into parliament and shepherding it through the House of Representatives.

This is on top of the National Housing Accord, which includes federal funding to deliver 10,000 affordable homes over five years from 2024.

State and territory governments have agreed to build on our commitment with up to 10,000 new homes as well – that’s up to 20,000 new affordable homes in total from the accord.

This is just the beginning.

The Housing Australia Future Fund will deliver an ongoing pipeline of funding, providing certainty and stability for future social and affordable housing projects.

I’ve also introduced legislation to establish Housing Australia and the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council. Our interim council has already been at work, preparing independent advice on ways to increase housing supply and affordability.

Our plan is not about sugar hits or Band‑Aid solutions. It’s about grasping a once‑in‑a‑generation opportunity to improve housing in Australia.