Census data released by the ABS and the Housing Assistance 2022 report published recently by the AIHW reinforce the case for government investment in new social and affordable rental housing.

In the last 12 months there have been positive signs of some revival in new social and affordable housing construction.  At the state and territory level the introduction of social housing stimulus investment programs will lead to new social and affordable housing construction. However, research last year from UNSW City Futures Research Centre indicates that once demolitions and sales of public housing are taken into account the proportionately declining provision seen over the past 25 years decline is set to continue at the national scale (if not in the three jurisdictions with proportionately large development programs (Qld, Tas, Vic). Even in Victoria, the state government’s Big Housing Build anticipates increasing existing social housing stock by only just enough to maintain social housing, as a proportion of all housing dwellings, over the program’s 4-year time horizon.

The Commonwealth Government’s Housing Australia Future Fund also promises an additional 30,000 social and affordable homes over five years.

All very welcome if these projects are a start of a long term ongoing social and affordable housing program. The community housing industry has been working with partners across the housing spectrum to devise mechanisms that will harness institutional capital and in the Housing-Boost-Aggregator we think have a solution that can be adopted as an action in the promised National Housing Plan. There are inevitably costs to governments in supporting social and affordable housing  – as there are in any big infrastructure projects. As with big infrastructure the costs are offset by the benefits in improved health and wellbeing. CHIA and its partners have commissioned the Social and Green (SG) Calculator that will allow proposers of social and affordable housing to estimate additional societal benefits associated with new housing constructions and we hope to convince governments they can afford to meet the need out there.

Last week the Housing Minister, the Hon Julie Collins MP met with her state and territory colleagues to discuss how they would collaborate on meeting ‘the housing challenges’.  CHIA is pleased she acknowledged the community housing industry’s role in getting homes on the ground and we look forward to doing just that.

Best wishes,

Wendy Hayhurst                                   
Chief Executive