HOUSING MINISTERS FACE TEST OF WILL

3 Nov 2016

The success of the annual meeting of Federal and State Housing and Homelessness Ministers in Sydney tomorrow is a test of the will of Federal and State governments to tackle the housing affordability crisis and the alarming increase in the number of homeless people.

The success of the annual meeting of Federal and State Housing and Homelessness Ministers in Sydney tomorrow is a test of the will of Federal and State governments to tackle the housing affordability crisis and the alarming increase in the number of homeless people.

If the meeting makes no decisions that will lead directly to an increase in the supply of affordable and social housing, the meeting will have failed.

If the meeting fails to recognise that homeless people need immediate help through the protection and extension of funding under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, the meeting will have failed. There is a principle at stake for housing ministers tomorrow - homeless people need homes.

If the meeting fails to put forward measures that facilitate and drive reform of financing models for the community housing sector, it will have failed.

Between them, the Commonwealth and State governments contribute nearly $10 billion a year to programs in the housing sector. This money includes funding under partnership agreements, rent assistance and the National Affordable Housing Agreement, but there is no evidence that any of this money is leading to an increase in the supply of affordable and social housing. It is certainly not providing homes for homeless people.

The tests for the success of tomorrow’s meeting are these: will the decisions it takes increase the supply of affordable and social housing and will it provide homes for homeless people?

The meeting of housing Ministers is really a test of leadership. For too long, too many governments have been failing the test. The time for talking is over, it's time for leadership and action.

THURSDAY, 3 NOVEMBER 2016