FUTURE OF NATIONAL AFFORDABLE HOUSING AGREEMENT STILL IN DOUBT

2 Mar 2017

Treasury officials appearing at Senate Estimates have been unable to allay fears that $1.3 billion a year in funding under the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) is under threat in the May budget.

Treasury officials appearing at Senate Estimates have been unable to allay fears that $1.3 billion a year in funding under the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) is under threat in the May budget.

The officials were responding to questions about reports the Turnbull Government is considering axing the National Affordable Housing Agreement which has provided over $9 billion in social and affordable housing assistance since 2009.

Saying that ‘no final decision’ has been made, Treasury officials revealed that there have been ‘high-level discussions’ with States and Territories on the future of NAHA but declined to reveal what has been discussed.

Turnbull government Ministers have repeatedly blamed the States and Territories for performance benchmarks under the NAHA such as reductions in rental stress among low income households not being met.

Under questioning from Labor’s Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Senator Doug Cameron, officials conceded that a range of factors including historically low rates of wages growth, the declining real value of Newstart and Youth Allowance, cuts to Family Tax benefits and scrapping the Energy Supplement would contribute to increasing levels of rental stress.

Malcolm Turnbull should rule out scrapping NAHA and get real about addressing the housing affordability crisis.

THURSDAY, 2 MARCH 2017