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Budget: $2.2 billion dollars for housing affordability and homelessness

3 min read

Key housing initiatives:

• Over the next four years, $622 million will help build up to 50,000 new rental properties through the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

• $359 million in the Housing Affordability Fund will deliver more homes, more quickly and at less cost.

• $100 million will build hundreds of new homes for the homeless across Australia.

• And more than $1.1 billion will help new home buyers save for a deposit through the new First Home Saver Accounts.

The ABC reports that in a speech to the Sydney Institute last night, Minister Plibersek announced most of those new homes would be owned and operated bythe not-for-profit sector.

“A significant proportion of the new stock will be transferred to the community housing sector by 2014,” she said.

She says the deeds will be handed over by July 2012.

“I want to see a much stronger system of not-for-profit community housing providers that operate in a more flexible commercial way, that respond to their tenants needs and give their tenants choice,” she said.


• The Low Income Tax Offset will lift by $1,500 in July 2010, taking the effective tax free threshold to $16,000.

• The concessional superannuation contribution caps will reduce from $50,000 to $25,000.

Comments from the sector:

Council to Homeless Persons Senior Policy Officer David Wright-Howie speaking to Third Sector said:

“The Australian Government has shown great leadership on housing and homelessness, they’ve shown a real commitment to address this issue,” he said. “This is the biggest commitment to social and public housing in at least two decades.”

Catholic Social Services Australia’s Executive Director, Frank Quinlan, said at first glance the Federal Budget has delivered a brighter outlook for most Australians.

Mr Quinlan welcomed the renewed focus on a fair go for those who haven’t enjoyed the benefits of the economic boom of the past decade.

“Tax cuts look set to deliver the greatest benefits to people on the lowest incomes. This is an important first step in sharing Australia’s wealth more equitably,” he said.

“While tax cuts will do little for over 400,000 unemployed Australians, the restructure of the Job Network promises better access to services for people with complex barriers to employment.”

While Anglicare Sydney has welcomed the Federal Budget’s focus on protecting and creating jobs, and the increase in the pension, the organisations CEO Peter Kell has expressed concern that the momentum behind the Rudd Government’s social inclusion agenda has slowed.

“Social inclusion is not just a boom-time luxury. Even before the current economic crisis there were people suffering multiple forms of disadvantage which meant they’d fallen through the cracks already.

“We are particularly concerned about carers, those with a mental illness or a disability, new migrants and refugees and older Australians.

“There has been little or no provision in the budget to fund the recommendations from the report of the recent Inquiry into Better Support for Carers.

“An annual payment to carers of $600 dollars, less than two dollars a day, on top of the already inadequate carers’ payment and carers’ allowance is simply not sufficient for the enormous challenges faced by the approximately 500,000 people in Australia who are primary carers for an ill, infirm or disabled family member”. Mr Kell is also concerned at the increasing hardship faced by those who have lost their jobs, or whose jobs are at risk.

“The growing gap between the aged pension and the unemployment benefit is unacceptable at a time when unemployment is on the rise with more than one million people expected to be out of work by 2010”.

More Budget news and comments to come. Tell us what you think by emailing: {encode=”” title=””}

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