The St Vincent de Paul National Council has welcomed the commitments of national cabinet and the Commonwealth this week to address the housing and rental crisis.
From July 2024, the national cabinet has set a target of building 1.2 million new homes over five years. The Commonwealth has also committed to providing $3 billion in performance-based funding for states and territories. This will reward those who build more than their share of the new homes. The Housing Support Program, a $500 million competitive funding program for local and state governments, aims to boost housing supply.
National Cabinet has also agreed to “A Better Deal for Renters” which will develop a nationally consistent policy for genuine reasonable grounds for eviction, limiting rent increases to once a year, and phasing in minimum rental standards.
The St Vincent de Paul Society’s national president, Mark Gaetani, said the society “has advocated over a considerable time for ambitious targets for housing and for minimum rental standards”, with almost one-third of Australian households renting.
“We are encouraged that the national cabinet is addressing the issue of no-cause evictions and rental bidding and recognises the need to limit rent increases to once a year and introduce more uniform rental process and standards. These reforms are long overdue,” Mr Gaetani said.
“It is very encouraging to see that the national cabinet is making housing such a priority, although supply continues to be the biggest challenge.”
Mr Gaetani questioned why the Albanese Government’s Housing Australia Future Fund bill, which aims to address the severe shortage of social housing, continues to be stalled in the senate.
“The HAFF is not perfect, but it is a start. It would be great if all could agree to rental reforms, such as capping rent increases. But this should not hold up the HAFF. We urge all stakeholders to put aside political point scoring and pass the bill,” Mr Gaetani said.
More action needed to tackle housing crisis (St Vincent de Paul Society)