Government Funding Fails Performance Targets on Housing

February 10 2017
Affordable housing

The low return on tax payer funded investment in affordable public housing demands a rethink on Commonwealth-State government funding programs, said the Housing Industry Association (HIA) today.

“The National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) between the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments has failed to deliver on its targets – by a long shot,” said HIA’s Deputy Managing Director, Graham Wolfe.

“The NAHA agreement, which commenced in 2009 with much fanfare about addressing lower-income rental stress, housing affordability and homelessness has fallen well short of its performance benchmarks,” said Mr Wolfe.

“The billions of dollars that has passed through the program should have delivered much more in affordable housing outcomes.”

“The number of low income households living in rental stress, for example, has grown by over 20 per cent nationally in the six years to 2013/14,” noted Mr Wolfe. “The NAHA agreement targeted a reduction of 10 per cent.”

“At a time when housing affordability is under significant pressure across Australia, governments need to do more to help low and moderate income families into suitable accommodation,” said Mr Wolfe. “However, instead of using tax payer funded grants and hand-outs more efficiently to meet the NAHA targets, state and local governments are adding to the affordability problem by taxing the private market through mandating fees, levies and charges on new housing developments.”

“This only adds to the cost of new housing supply, reduces housing affordability and places further pressure on public housing waiting lists.

“It is timely for the Commonwealth Government to consider alternate funding models to support the supply of affordable homes, and improve housing affordability more broadly,” said Mr Wolfe. “Accessing private investment vehicles, using bond aggregators and tapping into government securities and tax incentives has the potential to deliver more tangible outcomes for low to middle income families across both rental and owner-occupier housing markets.”

“HIA looks forward to supporting the Government in securing and delivering more effective funding programs to increase home ownership and grow our nation’s affordable housing stock,” concluded Mr Wolfe.

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