Federal budget missed opportunity

In the largest spending Federal budget in decades it was disappointing to see little in it for housing or most of our tenants. The key measure for the sector was an increase from $2 billion to $3 billion in the NHFIC Government Guarantee for the Australian Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator. While this is a welcome initiative debt alone will not build anymore social houses – subsidised housing requires a subsidy.

However, it was pleasing to see $150 million for the Indigenous Home Ownership Program which is a shared equity model that will support the construction of new homes in regional areas – something the Victoria’s Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework identified as a priority.

The Treasurer gave no indication about the ongoing rate of Jobseeker once the coronavirus subsidy is withdrawn. It is inconceivable to think that the government would expect people to return to living on $40 per day. More money in the hands of people on low incomes is not only good social policy but it is sound economic policy and would help reboot the economy.

Attention now turns to next month’s state budget and Tim Pallas said this morning that the ‘Victorian Government will hand down a budget that will kickstart the biggest economic recovery effort our state has ever seen.’ The Andrew’s Government is aware that Victoria has the lowest rate of social housing in the country and they understand the economic power of investing in social housing as demonstrated by the Rudd Stimulus Package in 2008. We are hopeful that this will translate into a sizeable commitment into housing.

– Lesley Dredge, CHIA Vic CEO