Australia set to pass $6.4 billion housing fund bill after Greens offer support, ET RealEstate

September 12, 2023

<p>File Photo</p>
File Photo

SYDNEY: The Australian government said on Monday its centerpiece housing bill that would set up a A$10 billion ($6.42 billion) fund was set to pass parliament after the Greens party pledged support in exchange for more investments on community housing projects.

Under the proposal by the centre-left Labor government, the returns from the fund will be used to build 30,000 new social and affordable rental homes over five years from 2024/25.

“I am indeed very pleased that the Housing Australia Future Fund now has majority support in the Senate,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told parliament.

Albanese said the government’s housing policy would ensure “more homes for key workers, more affordable homes for Australian renters and more homes for those most in need.”

Labor, which does not have a majority in the Senate, and the Greens support action to tackle Australia’s housing crisis. But the bill was blocked by opposition parties in the Senate in June.

The Greens voted at the time with the main opposition centre-right Liberal Party to delay the bill, saying it wanted A$2.5 billion in annual housing spending and a national freeze on rents.

When the opposition threatened to block the bill again, Albanese raised the prospect of an early election. The government can dissolve both houses of parliament if the upper house twice blocks a bill passed by the lower house.

Greens leader Adam Bandt said the government’s decision to allow an additional A$1 billion this year for community housing was due to the pressure from his party and that his focus would now shift to freeze rent increases.

“Pressure works … now we will use that same pressure, that same power to push for a rent freeze and rent caps,” Bandt told reporters in Canberra.

The bill would likely pass the Senate this week, Bandt said.

  • Published On Sep 11, 2023 at 04:30 PM IST

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