10 March 2023

Opinion piece: Working together to solve Australia's housing challenges


Published in The Mercury

Building a home involves the work of a lot of different professions.

Architects, drafts people, surveyors, carpenters, plumbers, sparkies and other tradies to name a few.

Take out one of these skilled professions and the house just won’t get built.

I think of this often in my job as the federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness.

For far too long, we had a government in Canberra that was not interested in helping to address Australia’s housing challenges.

Without national leadership, housing challenges across the country have only grown worse, including here in Tasmania.

But I’m proud the Albanese government was elected with a plan to create a better future, and we are already delivering.

We want to ensure that more people have a safe and affordable place to call home, here in Tasmania and right around Australia.

A key part of our plan is the Housing Australia Future Fund, the single biggest investment in affordable and social housing in more than a decade.

In its first five years, returns from the fund will help deliver 30,000 new social and affordable homes, including 4000 homes for women and children impacted by family and domestic violence or older women at risk of homelessness.

This is just the beginning.

Once established, returns from this $10 billion fund will provide an ongoing source of funding for social and affordable housing.

I’m looking forward to further constructive conversations with people right across the parliament as we work towards ensuring this vital fund becomes a reality.

We know the fund will take time to establish, and that’s why we’ve acted immediately to put other elements of our plan in place.

We’ve unlocked up to $575 million to invest in social and affordable housing, by widening the remit of the National Housing Infrastructure Facility.

Our action is already making a difference. Earlier this year, I announced $33 million in funding from the federal government to help build up to 181 social, affordable homes in North-West Tasmania.

The Albanese government also knows the importance of getting the right policies in place, and that’s why we’re creating a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council.

Drawing on members’ experiences from right across the housing sector, the council will provide frank and fearless advice to the government on housing supply and affordability. Our interim council has already held its first meeting.

We’re also providing national leadership through our new National Housing Accord, a shared ambition to build one million well-located homes over five years from 2024.

The Albanese government has already allocated $350 million in additional federal funding to deliver 10,000 affordable homes over five years from 2024 as part of the accord.

We are not acting alone.

The Albanese government is bringing new national leadership, but it will take action with all levels of government and private industry to address Tasmania’s housing challenges.

Just like building a house, we all have to work together to ensure more Tasmanians have a safe and affordable place to call home.