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Category Archives: Federal

News of national importance.

The Summer Foundation and AHURI are conducting a national study into the demand & supply of specialist disability accomodation (SDA) NDIS housing and are seeking community housing organisations’support to complete the provider survey.

The main survey aims to obtain information about current SDA dwellings. An optional survey focuses on SDA dwellings that are under construction or soon to be.

Click here to complete the online survey,

All organisations that participate in the survey will receive notification and a final copy of the SDA Housing Demand report. Those that complete the optional section will receive a copy of the early findings, ahead of final report publication.

We are seeking completion of survey responses by the 17th October 2017.

If you have any queries related to completion of the survey, please email [email protected]

If you have any more general enquiries, please contact [email protected]



The Commonwealth Treasury has released the Affordable Housing Working Group’s final report on the complementary measures needed to support the bond aggregator.

The working group made three recommendations:

  1. That the Commonwealth and state and territory governments progress initiatives that close the funding gap, including direct subsidies for affordable low-income rental housing, the use of affordable housing targets, planning mechanisms, tax settings, value-adding contributions from affordable housing providers and innovative developments to create and retain stock.
  2. The Commonwealth and state and territory governments and the community housing sector develop and implement a uniform national regulatory framework to support the implementation of a bond aggregator and the growth of the sector nationally.
  3. The National Industry Development Framework for Community Housing be revised and updated in light of the Review of the National Regulatory System for Community Housing.

You can download the full report here.

Community housing organisations have an opportunity to provide the Commonwealth Government with feedback on the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).

The Commonwealth Treasury has released a consultation paper on the potential structure and governance of the new corporate Commonwealth entity, which was announced as part of a series of measures in the 2017-18 Budget aimed at improving housing affordability.

The NHFIC is to have two functions:

1. A $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF), which will use tailored financing to partner with local governments to fund infrastructure.  The aim is to accelerate housing supply (the consultation paper proposes that priority be given to projects that include a certain amount of affordable housing).

2. An affordable housing bond aggregator, which will access the wholesale bond market to enable community housing providers to obtain cheaper finance on better terms, to expand supply. A report by consultants EY found the bond aggregator would be able to deliver interest savings of 0.9 to 1.4 per cent on a 10-year debt, depending on the level of government support.

EY estimated that the CHP sector will need to access around $1.4 billion of debt over the next five years, which should provide the necessary demand and scale needed to support affordable housing bond issuances.

The Treasury is now seeking feedback on the potential structure and governance of the NHFIC, and how the NHIF and bond aggregator will work.

CHIA and the state community housing peaks will be developing a joint submission and individual organisations that wish to develop their own submissions will need to do so by the Friday 20 October deadline.

You can download the consultation paper and the final report on the Bond Aggregator here 

Commonwealth to ‘unlock’ community housing’s potential

The Commonwealth Government wants to ‘unlock the potential of the community housing industry’, according to the Assistant Minister to the Federal Treasurer, Michael Sukkar MP.

Minister Sukkar addressed a well-attended lunchtime forum, organised by CHIA and the Community Housing Federation of Victoria, in Melbourne yesterday, along with Productivity Commissioner Stephen King.

Minister Sukkar told community housing organisations, and stakeholders, ‘There is always going to be a place for state governments’ public housing stock, but increasingly we see the future being community housing providers.’

You can read a media release detailing Minister Sukkar’s very positive comments about community housing by clicking here.


20,000 more properties needed each year: CEDA

Australia needs  20,000 new affordable properties each year to house low income people, according to one recommendation by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

CEDA’s released its report Housing Australia, which warns that Australia’s housing affordability challenge could have long-term budget and political implications as more people retire without owning a home, or end up on the city fringe.

CHIA CEO Peta Winzar was on the panel at the Melbourne launch of the report.

Í welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s budget package as an important first step in addressing the issues surrounding housing affordability, but the CEDA Report shows clearly how much work still needs to be done,’ Ms Winzar says.

Ms Winzar also urged the Victorian Government to identify more government land to be developed or redeveloped for affordable housing.

CEDA Research and Policy Committee Chairman, Professor Rodney Maddock says, ‘Prolonged housing affordability issues will result in more people entering retirement without owning their home and low socioeconomic households pushed to outer or regional areas where transport infrastructure is poor and job prospects are lower.

‘In the long term this could have budget implications for governments as more people become reliant on government assistance,’ he says.

‘With most Australians choosing to live in our major cities, it is likely the trend of more people living in apartments and more long term renters will become permanent and we need to accommodate this better with increased protections for renters.

‘In addition, we also need to ensure better transport and infrastructure to accommodate increased inner city density and to connect outer suburban developments to employment hubs.’

You can download a copy of the CEDA report here.

Focus on NAHA

With house prices — and more recently, rents —  surging in the Eastern State population hubs, it is no surprise that housing affordability has become a key political issue.

The Federal Government has begun to set its mind about how best to ease the pressure on those feeling the negative effects of rising prices, principally aspiring first time buyers, low income renters and the homeless.

Against this backdrop, the performance of the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) has come under intense scrutiny and Productivity Commission data released earlier this year provides plenty of evidence that meaningful reform is required. Despite over $9 billion dollars being invested by the Commonwealth since its inception in 2009, NAHA has underperformed against virtually every performance indicator.

In 2016, the number of public housing dwellings in Australia was down more than 16,000 on the 2009 numbers and almost 21,000 less than in 2007.

The number of low income renters in rental stress has risen significantly in some states, with capital cities seeing the steepest rises. Note that this has occurred in tandem with a 20 per cent increase in spending on Commonwealth Rent Assistance since 2012.

Public housing waitlists have grown, not shrunk, and almost 20 per cent of public housing dwellings and 11 per cent of community housing dwellings are not of ‘an acceptable standard’.

There is a silver lining: the community housing industry has doubled in size since 2009 and now manages over 80,000 dwellings nationwide in a system that is considerably more sophisticated and innovative than it was a decade ago. Moreover, homelessness alleviation programs operating with NAHA support have yielded some very positive results in terms of addressing the housing and support needs of those at the sharpest end of the housing continuum.

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) believes that measures announced in the May Federal budget show that the Commonwealth is interested in fundamental reform and, hearteningly, that it believes community housing providers have a significant part to play in that reform agenda.

At the same time, the Productivity Commission’s latest draft report Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services contains several game changing suggestions for reform. These include: moving to a single model of financial assistance that would see public housing tenants become eligible for CRA; creating competitive neutrality between all social housing providers including state housing authorities; and, the expansion of tenancy support services to eligible households in the private rental system.

Due to the nature of the scope of the report, however, it is largely silent on how to address perhaps the most fundamental question of all — how to grow the social and affordable housing system.

CHIA and the state-based peak bodies provided a joint response to the draft report in July.

Policy measures in the budget, combined with the work of the Productivity Commission, have set the scene for the reform of the NAHA.  There can be no sacred cows; the case for structural reform regarding how the nation’s social housing system is funded, managed and regulated is irrefutable.

CHIA will continue to argue that a central pillar of reform must be enabling the community housing system to continue its growth trajectory, harnessing its ability to attract private finance, developing new housing stock, providing services that sustain tenancies and creating pathways to the mainstream housing system for tenants capable of making that transition.

Barry Doyle, CHIA Project Director WA

CHIA members vote for constitutional change

Members from around the country voted yesterday to make some changes to CHIA’s constitution in a move that will strengthen CHIA’s relationship with state peak community housing bodies.

CHIA Chair Michael Lennon says members overwhelmingly supported the changes at a Special General Meeting, held in Adelaide.

‘This is an important milestone for CHIA. These constitutional changes will streamline and formalise the relationship between CHIA and the state peaks, enabling them to provide advice and input to the CHIA board on matters relevant to their state.

‘We anticipate that the Community Housing Federation of Victoria and the NSW Federation of Housing Associations will seek associate membership of CHIA, which will enable them to nominate a Director to the CHIA Board.’

In other states and territories, members will continue to elect the Region Director who will represent them on the CHIA Board.

‘In bedding down our formal relationships with each state and territory, CHIA is in a stronger position to provide a nation-wide perspective on national issues for the community housing sector,’ Michael says.

The community housing sector has delivered a comprehensive response to the Productivity Commission’s draft report into human services, including housing, which was released in June.

The submission was a collaborative effort between CHIA, the state and territory community housing peaks, and other key industry players.

The submission advocated for a whole-of-system approach represented by a National Affordable Housing Strategy, which would carefully coordinate initiatives across all levels of government, the public, not-for-profit and for-profit sectors and which would make necessary reforms to tax, welfare and housing assistance programs in a coherent way.

“The “broken” system described in the Draft Report derives not from a lack of mechanisms to support consumer choice and a deficit in the accountability of public housing systems, though both need to be tackled. It derives from decades of underinvestment that has left the social housing system struggling to cope with overwhelming demand. A social housing system that is not broken caters not just for the choices of individuals but needs the needs of the community generally – by providing homes that are decent and well-maintained, by supporting inclusive and integrated communities and by ensuring that providers are accountable to tenants and financially sound.”

Representatives from CHIA and the NSW Federation of Housing Associations will present the report to the commission’s public hearing in Canberra on Tuesday, July 25.

Click here to read the full submission.

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear about major issues impacting our sector, directly from those in the hot seat.

Book your seats now to hear from Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, the Hon Michael Sukkar, about the Federal Government’s housing initiatives such as the bond aggregator, and Productivity Commissioner Stephen King, who is presiding over the current investigation into ways to improve the delivery of Human Services – including affordable housing.

Productivity Commission update

Productivity Commission logo

CHIA and the state and territory peaks are compiling the sector’s response to the Productivity Commission’s draft report Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice In Human Services.

The report, which includes housing, is looking at innovative ways to improve outcomes through introducing the principles of competition and informed user choice whilst maintaining or improving quality of service.

It is expected CHIA Chair Michael Lennon, CHIA CEO Peta Winzar, and NSW Federation of Community Housing’s CEO Wendy Hayhurst will make a presentation to the commission’s public hearing in Canberra on Tuesday, July 25.

The sector response will be made available to CHIA members.

Swinburne University is recruiting part-time students for its Graduate Certificate of Social Science (Housing Management and Policy). The course is open to those currently working in housing and homelessness who have either a degree or five years relevant work experience from anywhere in Australia.

See the Swinburne website for details.

Feedback on new housing agreement

Parliament House

CHIA will feed back to the Federal Government the results of its consultation with community housing providers on the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.

The agreement aims to increase the supply of new homes and improve outcomes for Australians across the housing spectrum, particularly those most in need. It is set to replace the National Affordable Housing Agreement, which failed to grow social housing stock or reduce waiting lists.

CHIA has asked the state and territory peaks to consult their members and report back in preparation for a position paper. Members can also provide their feedback directly to CHIA by sending an email to [email protected]

Treasury Insider to speak with CHIA Board


A Principal Adviser to the Federal Treasury’s Social Policy Division, Marty Robinson, will discuss the details of the budget’s housing package with the CHIA board at their next meeting.

With question marks hanging over the detail and proposed implementation of the swag of measures announced in the budget, Mr Robinson’s insider knowledge will provide board members with valuable insights.

Topics expected to be covered include the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, and the Managed Investment Trust measure. The role CHIA can play in shaping the design and implementation of these key national initiatives will also be a key agenda item.

The CHIA Board will meet on June 23.

What is your organisation’s reaction to the idea of compulsorily deducting rent payments from your tenants’ welfare payments?

The idea was first announced by the Federal Government in the 2016 Budget but legislation enabling public housing and community housing providers to automatically deduct rent from income support and Family Tax Benefit payments is expected to be introduced this year. The exact circumstances that would trigger compulsory withholding of rent payments have not yet been revealed, but tenants with a poor record of paying their rent will obviously be in scope.

How much impact this measure would have is unknown. After all, many tenants already use Centrepay to make their rent payments.

CHIA is aware that this could be a divisive issue for our members, with some welcoming the security of certain cashflow and prevention of homelessness, others believing it denies tenants the opportunity to be responsible for their own finances.

We expect that this legislation will be considered by a Parliamentary committee and to help us prepare a submission on behalf of community housing providers, CHIA is seeking your input on this issue.  Please click on the link to take part in our first online survey.

The Productivity Commission published its draft report Introducing Competition and Informed Choice into Human Service on June 2 and invited comment.

The brief for the report, which includes housing, is to look at innovative ways to improve outcomes through introducing the principles of competition and informed user choice whilst maintaining or improving quality of service.

With a July 14 submission deadline, the community housing sector has had to mobilise quickly to create a coordinated response to this important report.

Led by CHFV, representatives of all the relevant state-based peaks, CHIA, and PowerHousing have participated in teleconferences on the subject with NSWFHA compiling responses from each of the representatives, which will be used to brief the consultant who has been hired to write the sector’s joint-submission.

The submission will be made available to CHIA members

CHFV becomes CHIA Vic

CHIA Vic logo

CHFV’s board and members have continued to demonstrate their strong support of the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) by agreeing to adopt the trading name CHIA Vic in the new financial year.

The ‘trading as’ name change is part of CHFV’s compact with CHIA, which will it act as the Victorian state branch of the national organisation, whilst retaining its own legal entity. The move is a natural progression of CHFV’s strong support of CHIA, which dates back to 2015.

CHFV will launch a new website and branding in light of the name change.

CHIA expects to successfully complete negotiations with the other state peaks by the end of June this year, which will  clarify how the organisations will work together to advance the community housing industry.