National Shelter has written to the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison M.P., congratulating the government on their return and raising the ongoing housing and homelessness issues the government has a responsibility to address. We have indicated we will review our own positions on housing and homelessness but are committed to the development of a national housing strategy to rebalance our housing system which continues to fail to adequately meet the interests of low and moderate income households. We have welcomed the appointment of a Housing Minister and have provided a brief to the government regarding the critical issues and aspects of policy and programming they might consider.
The re-elected Morrison Government has named a Minister for Housing and an Assistant Minister with responsibility for community housing and homelessness. To view the full list, the ABC has one with photos here.
There will be several Ministries we wish to keep in touch with, including:
- The Treasurer, The Hon. Josh Frydenberg, who will have overall responsibility for the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC)
- The Hon. Michael Sukkar M.P. Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing who has previously held a similar position without the title of Minister
- Mr Luke Howarth M.P., Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services working with Senior Minister Senator, The Hon. Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services.
The Prime Minister has also appointed Australia’s first Indigenous person as Minister for Indigenous Affairs and we have also written to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, The Hon. Ken Wyatt M.P., raising issues to improve housing and homelessness responses for First Peoples.
With many points of contact, it will be interesting to see how the parts of the government responsible for housing and homelessness work together. Whilst housing, tax reform and related issues were prominent throughout the election, the only new announcement by the government was the development of a First Home Deposit Scheme (FHDS), to be developed by the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC). The FHDS was announced as a method of helping eligible first home buyers purchase a house with a deposit as low as 5%, which could save around $10,000 in Lenders Mortgage Insurance. It will prioritise small lenders to boost competition and is available to buyers with an income of up to $125,000 (or $200,000 for a couple). Economists have questioned the effectiveness and relevance of the scheme.
National Shelter will open up lines of communication across the range of Ministers and encourage the government to link the elements of housing and homelessness to an agenda for improvement.
Adrian Pisarski is available for comment on 0417975270.