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Homelessness NSW – Budget Overview

The Albanese Government handed down its first Budget last night and it was pleasing to see a strong focus on Housing. Homelessness NSW welcomes the vision and ambition set out in the National Housing Accord and calls on the NSW Government work with the Commonwealth and continue to take a strong role ensure we can End Homelessness Together.

The Budget had a key focus on Housing, which is a key pillar to ending Homelessness. The key announcement was the signing of a National Housing Accord between all levels of Government, investors (such as superannuation funds) and industry. The Accord will:

  • Set a target to build one million new, well-located homes over five years from 2024.
  • Provide $350 million in additional funding for 10,000 new affordable homes, with States and territories providing an additional 10,000 affordable homes, increasing the dwellings that can be delivered under the Accord to 20,000.
  • Require States and territories to expedite zoning, planning and land release for social and affordable housing
  • Provide financing options through the Housing Australia Future Fund to facilitate institutional investment in social and affordable housing
  • Work with local governments to deliver planning reforms and free up landholdings
  • Call on Institutional investors to leverage investment that delivers for their members’ interests and for the national interest
  • Work with the construction sector peak bodies to support high energy efficiency rating construction, the training of more apprentices under an extended Australian Skills Guarantee and work to make housing more responsive to demand.

This Accord helps lay a foundation of coordination which is essential as all levels of Government, industry and the community need to work together to end homelessness. It was pleasing to see the Commonwealth Government adopt some of the recommendations in our Ending Homelessness Together paper, including expanding the scope of NIFIC to enable external investment. These types of innovative financing vehicles are critical to getting private capital working alongside Government and Community Housing Providers.

While Homelessness NSW welcomes the Accord, we call on the Government to set a target for Social Housing within Accord’s ambition of one million new homes over 5 years from 2024. In a NSW context, this should account for 10% of all residential dwellings – or roughly 33,000 social housing dwellings over the period.

Homelessness NSW also welcomes existing Commonwealth Government initiative funded or outlined in the Budget including the $10 billion Housing Australia Fund, the Treasurer’s Investor Roundtable and the ongoing work to establish a National Housing and Homelessness Plan. The Accord lays the foundation for success, the National Housing and Homelessness Plan will set the targets, timeframes and resources to end homelessness together. This includes funding for homelessness services to meet demand.

Family and Domestic Violence and mental health are the top two drivers of Homelessness. It was therefore pleasing to see a $1.7 billion investment over 6 years to combat domestic violence as well as the Government restoring the 50 per cent loading for telehealth psychiatry services in regional and rural areas and expanding the headspace network. Investing in the causes of homelessness as well as ensuring appropriate supply of social housing and well-funded services are all needed to end homelessness

Homelessness NSW has set out the roadmap to End Homelessness Together in NSW. We call on the NSW Government to adopt the recommendations in this paper and continue to work with the Commonwealth as part of the National Housing Accord.

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