CHIA WA submission to Review of National Regulatory System

CHIA WA considers that regulation is still required and relevant for the community housing sector in Australia and that WA should be fully joined into a single, nationally consistent, legislated regulatory system so that investors, governments, CHPs, and tenants only have to understand and work within the one system.

It is important that the NRSCH review includes consideration of the wider regulatory burden on community housing providers, and the roles played by each component, otherwise there is a risk that important issues – particularly regulatory burden and costs to both providers and government – will not be tackled.

CHIA WA’s vision for the future regulation of the sector is a system that gives assurance to government, lenders, tenants, and the wider community about the good governance and financial strength of the sector, whilst being responsive to changes in the sector and the environment it operates in.

Read the full submission here.

Review of National Regulatory System well overdue

At last week’s forum of state-based registrars of community housing, state housing policy agencies and community housing peaks, CHIA Executive Director Peta Winzar pressed the point with housing policy agencies that the long delay in kicking off the review of the National Regulatory System for Community Housing was extremely frustrating for the sector.

We know that the registrars and housing policy agencies have been working on an evaluation of the NRSCH since at least April 2017. Yet, over 18 months later, we are still to see the final Terms of Reference for this review.

The review is important for several reasons. A central objective of the NRSCH is to support the growth and development of the community housing sector. It must be able to do this and effectively support the NHFIC and the Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator to avoid creating any unnecessary additional regulatory burden on providers. (Reducing the regulatory burden on CHPs working across different states and territories is another core objective of the NRSCH.)

Community housing peaks have been providing feedback on the NRSCH through the Regulatory Advisory Group Forum over the past two years, but this NRSCH Review would give CHPs the opportunity to provide direct feedback on whether the NRSCH is meeting these objectives and make suggestions for improvement.

Both Western Australia and Victoria have flagged that they will consider joining the NRSCH once this review is complete, but that won’t happen until the end of 2019. So the earliest date from which we will have a national system of community housing regulation in Australia is 2010 – and more probably, not until 2021.

Other matters canvassed at the Regulatory Forum included the Evidence Guidelines for Tier 3 providers, the Community housing Standards and improving transparency and accountability of regulatory decisions. The NRSCH will also release a comprehensive annual report on regulatory activity and outcomes later this year.

Interested in becoming a registered NT provider?

The NT Government will be hosting free information sessions for housing providers interested in becoming registered Community Housing Providers under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH).

The NRSCH was developed to regulate providers of community housing, including social and affordable housing, indigenous community housing providers and other specialist community housing providers.

Obtaining registration may improve eligibility for future funding and investment opportunities in the community housing sector, however registration is voluntary.

The information session will cover:

  • Overview of the NRSCH
  • Benefits of registration
  • Capacity Building for Capability
  • Registration Process
  • Wind Up Clause – National Law
  • Examples of performance evidence requirements
  • Compliance assessment
  • NRSCH Resources and Questions

Sessions will be held as follows:

Darwin Thursday 22 November 2018

Alice Springs Friday 30 November 2018

Following the information sessions, interested providers will be able to register to meet with representatives to discuss registration of their organisation in further detail.

If you are a community housing provider and interested in attending one of these sessions, please email NRSCH.DHCD@nt.gov.au by 16 November 2018.

For more information, please call the Community Housing team on 8999 8409.

ABCB forums to examine accessibility standards 

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has commenced a new project to examine whether a minimum accessibility standard for housing should be included in the National Construction Code. Accessible housing is any housing that includes features to enable use by people either with a disability or transitioning through their life stages.

The ABCB will be holding morning consultation forums in each capital city, that will focus on its Accessible Housing Options Paper, which will be released in advance of the consultation forums.

All forums will be free to attend, although booking is essential.

Forum dates are to be confirmed, but at this stage are expected to be:

Canberra – Monday 15 October
Sydney -Tuesday 16 October
Perth – Friday 19 October
Adelaide – Thursday 25 October
Darwin – Friday 26 October
Brisbane – Tuesday 30 October
Melbourne – Wednesday 31 October
Hobart- Thursday 1 November

You can ensure you don’t miss out by registering your interest

Vic appoints inaugural tenancies commish

Deputy CEO of Launch Housing and CHIA Vic Board Member Dr Heather Holst has been appointed as Victoria’s inaugural Commissioner for Residential Tenancies.

CHIA Vic CEO Lesley Dredge says Dr Holst is a ‘brilliant’ choice for the position.

‘Heather has worked in the housing, homelessness and tenancy sectors since 1989. With her experience of the sector stretching from the coal face of being a frontline worker through to senior executive and board roles, she will bring invaluable knowledge and skills to this new role.’

‘Victorian tenants will have a committed and diligent advocate,’ Ms Dredge says.

As Commissioner for Residential Tenancies, Dr Holst will work closely with stakeholders across the rental sector to identify systemic issues and make recommendations to government.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz says, ‘Dr Heather Holst has long been an advocate for housing rights and I congratulate her on her appointment.’

 

 

 

WHL awarded Housing Association status

In an exciting development, the Victorian Housing Registrar has approved Women’s Housing Limited’s (WHL) application to become a Housing Association.

WHL’s CEO, Judy Line says the status change from Housing Provider to Housing Association, which has been 18 months in the making, is significant: ‘Becoming a Housing Association presents a wonderful opportunity for WHL and our clients – present and future.

‘As a Housing Association, WHL will have the capacity and resources to be able to provide more specialist housing for women and children.

‘For women in need, it’s about providing housing security and also a pathway out of disadvantage.’

Community Housing Industry Association Victoria Chair Haleh Homaei congratulated WHL on the news.

‘It’s a huge achievement for WHL and it’s great to have a specialist women’s housing provider within the pool of Housing Associations.’

The Registrar of Housing Agencies, Bernard Gastin, approved Women’s Housing Limited’s application for a change in category to a Housing Association under the Housing Act 1983, based on its demonstrated capacity to grow at scale through a strong track record of consistent housing growth in the past and a future growth strategy that will continue this trend.

Whilst Registered Housing Providers vary in size, they primarily manage rental housing portfolios for other parties, such as the Director of Housing (DoH). Whilst some own properties, their growth is small scale compared with housing associations.

‘WHL specialises in the provision of affordable housing for women and children and has grown its asset base of $0.3 million in 2008 (with no owned property) to $54 million by 30 June 2019. Tenancy numbers have grown from 108 to 400. This scale is consistent with Tier 1 housing provider status under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing,’ Mr Gastin says.

‘WHL has also established a pipeline of projects, including a new development in Bayswater and partnership with major developers such as Lendlease. These projects will continue to increase the supply of affordable housing by approximately 60 units by 2025-26. The growth is achieved through WHL’s own capital investment as well as leveraging generous developer land contributions and without relying solely on government funding.’

The broader Housing Registrar team also congratulated WHL on achieving this important milestone.

‘We will continue to work closely with WHL to ensure the regulatory requirements of a Housing Association are met.’

WHL joins the other nine Registered Housing Associations in Victoria: Aboriginal Housing Victoria Limited, Common Equity Housing Limited, Community Housing (Vic) Limited, Housing Choices Australia Limited, HousingFirst Limited, Haven; Home, Safe Limited, Beyond Housing Limited, Unison Housing Limited and Wintringham Housing Limited. There are 30 Registered Housing Providers in Victoria.