States welcome new housing and homelessness reform

Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Zed Seselja, welcomed constructive discussions on housing affordability measures in the Federal Budget during today’s Housing and Homelessness Ministers meeting in Adelaide.

Minister Seselja was pleased that States and Territories welcomed the announcement that homelessness funding would now be ongoing – something that Housing Ministers have called for since 2015.

“State and territory governments have recognised the need for reform. Over the last two years, the Commonwealth has been working with state and territory governments through COAG.

“The Federal Government’s National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) will provide certainty for homelessness services, with a further $375.3 million over three years from 1 July 2018. This increases funding under the new combined national housing and homelessness agreement to around $1.5 billion per annum.”

Minister Seselja said the new agreement will ensure the funding provided to the states and territories is used efficiently and effectively to maximise housing and homelessness outcomes.

“Under the new agreement, Commonwealth funding to state and territory governments will be tied to delivering mutually agreed measurable actions targeting priority areas. Details of the new agreement will be the subject of ongoing discussions with states and territories,” said Senator Seselja.

Minister Seselja noted that there are many complex factors that drive the demand for social housing, homelessness services and affordable housing. Solutions involve housing assistance, planning and financing reforms.

“Further work is needed to ensure that new funding and policy arrangements will lead to improved housing outcomes for those most in need. This additional work will include considering how homelessness policy is advanced in the context of the new NHHA.

Minister Seselja said he expects to report further on the progress on the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement before the end of 2017.

“The Commonwealth is absolutely committed to ensuring these funds can support the best possible outcomes in homelessness and housing affordability.”