Treasurer Jim Chalmers
Treasurer Jim Chalmers is preparing to hand down his third budget. Image by Russell Freeman/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Federal budget targets housing crisis amid backlash

May 11, 2024

A multibillion dollar federal budget housing injection has been lauded by the sector but criticised by the coalition and Greens.

The Albanese government will pour $11.3 billion into housing initiatives after securing the backing of premiers and chief ministers at Friday’s national cabinet meeting.

Tuesday’s budget will include $9.3 billion for a new five-year national agreement on social housing and homelessness.

New housing construction
 The Albanese government will pour .3 billion into housing initiatives. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

About $1 billion will be directed towards crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence and young people.

States and territories will share in a further $1 billion for the construction of roads, sewers, energy, water and community infrastructure needed for new homes and additional social housing supply.

One leader –  Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff – said more was needed, arguing the federal government had cut its level of funding to the state.

“While there was a welcome increase to homelessness support this has come at the expense of social housing funding, ultimately doing little to support the broader housing needs of Tasmanians,” he said in a statement.

“We expect better faith negotiations with the Federal Labor Government for our health and education funding agreements.”

Federal funding for homelessness services and social housing will double to $400 million per year and will be matched by the state and territories.

The funds will help people most at risk, Homelessness Australia chief executive Kate Colvin said.

“New resources to deliver crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence and young people at risk of homelessness will make a life-changing difference to each family and young person who will now have a safe home,” she said.

Master Builders Australia said the funding would support home builds but the government also needed to address building costs, workforce shortages and planning hurdles.

“Targeted measures in social housing, student accommodation and critical infrastructure all go towards relieving some of the more acute supply pinch points,” chief executive Denita Wawn said.

A file photo of Max Chandler-Mather
 Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather accused Labor of reheating an old agreement. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS 

But Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather accused Labor of reheating an agreement struck by the former government.

“There is not a single extra cent of funding going to the states for social housing and homelessness than would have under a re-elected Morrison government,” he said.

“It is locking in the status quo, and will do nothing to tackle a housing crisis that is destroying millions of lives.”

Opposition housing spokesman Michael Sukkar described the announcement as an “utter fraud”.

“There’s no new funding. Just an extension of the existing national housing and homelessness agreement,” he said on X, formerly Twitter.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the funds would help kick-start construction on a national scale.

“This isn’t about one suburb or one city or one state. It’s a challenge facing Australians everywhere and it needs action from every level of government,” he said.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers
 Treasurer Jim Chalmers is cautious of managing a slowing economy. Image by Russell Freeman/AAP PHOTOS 

The government has committed to working with higher education providers on new rules to increase student accommodation.

More than $90 million has been promised to boost the number of tradies and construction workers, including an extra 20,000 fee-free TAFE places.

About $25 billion has already been pledged to build 1.2 million homes by the end of 2030.

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