OVERDUE PROTECTIONS FOR NRAS INVESTORS WELCOME

20 Nov 2017

Labor welcomes new National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) Regulations which provide protections for NRAS investors against a very small number of NRAS approved participants whose suspect business practices are proving costly to investors and threaten the integrity of NRAS.

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS, TAFE AND APPRENTICESHIPS

OVERDUE PROTECTIONS FOR NRAS INVESTORS WELCOME

Labor welcomes new National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) Regulations which provide protections for NRAS investors against a very small number of NRAS approved participants whose suspect business practices are proving costly to investors and threaten the integrity of NRAS.

The new regulations give the Department of Social Services greater powers to compel NRAS approved participants to meet their contractual obligations to pass tax incentives and payments onto investors in a timely way.

Importantly, the new regulations provide that NRAS allocations held by participants who breach consumer protection law by, for example, engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct or engaging in unlawful anti-competitive conduct, are liable to have the allocation compulsorily transferred to another approved participant.

The new framework follows Labor making representations on behalf of NRAS investors to the ATO, the ACCC, ASIC and the Minister in recent months.

Labor has also raised problems with NRAS approved participants acting contrary to the interests of investors in Budget Estimates and most recently, in a Senate Committee hearing into legislative changes to NRAS on 14th November 2017.

In correspondence sent on behalf of Minister Porter on September 21 this year, the Department of Social Services told investors that while the government understood investors’ concerns, “nothing further can be added to the advice you have already received” and that “the Department strongly advises that you seek independent legal advice ...”

Labor has always supported improvements to NRAS. It is the only Commonwealth program contributing directly to the supply of affordable housing.

Labor’s NRAS delivered over 38,000 affordable homes, and was on track to deliver thousands more before the Liberals made the ill-considered decision to cap the scheme in the 2014-15 Budget.

Having enacted the new NRAS regulations, it is now up to Minister Porter to ensure that the protections they give to investors are implemented without further delay. They have already been the victims of enough Turnbull Government indecision.

MONDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2017