The St Vincent de Paul Society is urging the Albanese Government, the Greens and cross-bench Senators to work together to secure the passage of legislation essential to address Australia’s long-standing housing and homelessness crisis.
The Society is speaking on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Australians suffering housing distress and the ever-increasing number of people who are falling into, or are living in, a state of homelessness.
The people we are helping every day want our government to get on with delivering hope through building new affordable housing stock.
National President Mark Gaetani said the Society was deeply concerned that the package of legislation—which includes the Housing Australia Future Fund Bill 2023, the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council Bill 2023 and the Treasury Laws Amendment (Housing Measures No. 1) Bill 2023—risked failing without compromise from all.
‘We understand the proposals are not ideal,’ Mr Gaetani said.
‘They are not enough to tackle over three decades of inaction quick enough.
‘But this package is a start, and it must be supported.
‘The package before the Senate represents an historic opportunity to start to address Australia’s housing and homelessness crisis after neglect and inaction by governments of both persuasions,’ Mr Gaetani said.
‘The Society urges the Albanese Government and the Senate to work together to find compromises that will allow the package to pass and to deliver much-needed support to the growing number of Australians experiencing housing stress and homelessness,’ Mr Gaetani said.
In 2016, the Society called for the establishment of a $10 billion housing investment fund (Ache from Home report). But Australia’s housing and homelessness crisis has deepened since then.
We want the fund to move to $20 billion as recommended by the Grattan Institute.
The Society also calls for the Housing Australia Future Fund to:
- have improved representation on the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council
- dedicate quarantined funding to support housing for First Nations peoples
- scrap the annual disbursement cap of $500 million, apply indexation and add a provision to enable the Commonwealth Government to scale up funding to maintain the fund’s real capital value over time.
‘The Society wants to see the Housing Australia Future Fund pass, but we believe its ambition should be increased to respond to the size of Australia’s housing and homelessness crisis,’ Mr Gaetani said.