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.