Council welcomes federal government’s housing commitments

Stefan Bradley

WELLINGTON Shire Council has welcomed National Cabinet’s commitment to allocate $500 million for housing development via local and state government.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made a series of announcements in Brisbane with state and territory leaders on August 16 that aimed to address housing and rental stress around the country.

“Delivering more housing supply is a vital part of National Cabinet’s plan to ensure communities thrive as they grow,” Mr Albanese said.

“All governments recognise the best way to ensure more Australians have a safe and affordable place to call home is to boost housing supply.

“That’s why National Cabinet has agreed to an ambitious new national target to build 1.2 million new well-located homes over five years, from July 1 2024. This is an additional 200,000 new homes above the National Housing Accord target agreed by states and territories last year.”

The commonwealth committed $3 billion for performance-based funding, the New Home Bonus, for states and territories that achieve more than their share of the one million well-located home target under the National Housing Accord.

“This will incentivise states and territories to undertake the reforms necessary to boost housing supply and increase housing affordability, making a positive and practical difference for Australians planning to buy a home,” Mr Albanese said.

“This ambitious target will be supported by the Housing Support Program, a $500 million competitive funding program for local and state governments to kick-start housing supply in well-located areas through targeted activation payments for things like connecting essential services, amenities to support new housing development, or building planning capability.”

Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye said council is looking forward to receiving further details about these funding announcements and their applicability in Wellington Shire.

“Council continues to look for ways to fast-track planning for new housing throughout Wellington, and any upfront or forward funding opportunities to pay for things like drainage and amenity works to support increased housing is much needed and welcomed by council and local communities,” Cr Bye said.

“Support for sustainable population growth and housing choice is a key council priority, and it is important that all levels of government continue to allocate resources to achieve outcomes in regional communities that need it.

“Getting the most out of the significant renewable energy investment earmarked for Gippsland relies heavily on achieving planning outcomes as quickly as possible for new housing, encouraging increased investment and growth in Wellington Shire.”

There are also new provisions to improve renters’ rights in a “better deal for renters”.

Rent freezes, or caps are not part of the government’s agenda, which the federal Greens have criticised.

Separately, Labor’s signature housing policy, the Housing Australia Future Fund, has stalled in the Senate, with both the Greens and Coalition declining to vote for it.