Monumental boost to social and affordable housing passes parliament
Australia’s stock of social and affordable housing is poised to rise significantly following the passage through parliament overnight with bipartisan support of the final piece of legislation to establish the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).
Delivering on a commitment in last year’s Federal Budget, the NHFIC will be established from next week to administer Australia’s first national Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator, designed to encourage greater private and institutional investment in affordable housing by providing cheaper and longer-term finance to registered Community Housing Providers (CHPs).
It will also administer the five-year, $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility to provide CHPs and other eligible applicants with concessional loans, grants and equity to finance critical infrastructure required to deliver more housing supply sooner.
PowerHousing Australia, which represents 31 of Australia’s largest Tier One and scale Community Housing Providers, said NHFIC would be a gamechanger for the sector and the community, particularly key workers and those on lower incomes, and that members were ready to bring forward projects to make more affordable housing a reality for more Australians as soon as possible.
PowerHousing Chair, Nicola Lemon, said “the passage overnight of this legislation and the establishment of the NHFIC is a monumental step towards cracking the massive social and affordable housing challenges confronting the country today.
“Institutional and international investment into Australian affordable housing will become commonplace and in years to come, the NHFIC will be seen to be a foundation stone central to tackling affordability.
“The Community Housing Provider (CHP) sector and broader residential industry have been strong in their support of the NHFIC and we commend the Government for their genuinely consultative approach with us as they have developed this legislation.
“We applaud Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison and Assistant Minister Michael Sukkar’s commitment and efforts to building the financial and operational capacity of CHPs as a critical part of the long-term solution to Australia’s housing affordability challenges.
“We also warmly welcome the bipartisan support these measures have received in parliament and the work of Senator Cameron and the broader Senate Economics Committee who listened to and took on board the sector’s urgent need for these measures.
“With the NHFIC able to be established as of July 1, there will be Community Housing Providers with shovel-ready projects that will now be able to access some of the lowest cost finance, which will greatly assist them to provide affordable housing options to growing numbers of Australians.
“With the laying of this foundation stone for social and affordable housing, the formal creation of the NHFIC will become a pivotal moment for the country, as there is not one city or region that avoids the pressures that the current affordable housing crisis throws at Australian families and those on low to moderate incomes.
“Community Housing Providers are poised to ensure this new opportunity will deliver social change to the benefit of all Australians,” Ms Lemon said.