Labor's $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund bill has passed parliament, laying the foundations for more social and affordable homes. But this bill was blocked for months by the Greens and the Opposition, so after a lot of negotiations, here’s what we’re getting.
Greens leader Adam Bandt and housing spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather announced on Monday their stalemate with Labor would come to an end and would use their balance of power to vote the bill through the senate. Today, they did it. The bill was a centrepiece of Labor’s election campaign and pledged to build 30,000 more social and affordable homes over five years, but there is no timeline for when construction will begin. The Greens had argued for months that, amid Australia’s housing and rental crisis, the bill wouldn’t make any difference. Labor’s plan to fund the bill by tying it up in the stock market, rather than coming out of the federal budget, was also routinely ridiculed.By threatening to vote against the bill in the Senate, the Greens said they would tank the bill unless it was significantly improved. After months of facing off, the Greens secured an extra $3 billion to go towards building and upgrading public, social and affordable housing, and for the bill to include legislation that commits to at least $500 million of the fund being spent on housing every year – six times what was originally committed.
The HAFF will also include $200 million for repairs and maintenance to housing in remote Indigenous communities, $100 million for transitional housing for domestic violence victims and $30 million for veterans at risk of homelessness. The Greens also pushed for a national rent freeze, rent caps and legislated no-grounds evictions, but Bandt said the party was “not able to get the government to shift” on those.Chandler-Mather addressed accusations of stalling progress by saying they wanted action for renters and negotiated in good faith.“We secured [that] funding and now we turn our attention to fighting for a freeze on rent increases. We haven’t stopped,” he said.Anthony Albanese declared victory in parliament, thanked the Greens for “constructive discussions” and criticised the opposition for voting against the bill.While there’s no timeline for any building to begin, Housing Minister Julie Collins said the government wanted to get started as soon as possible.
"We anticipate that it will take weeks, hopefully, less than a couple of months, to get the fund up and running," she said. "And then, of course, we need to wait for the returns, which is why we're putting some money up-front in terms of getting more social and affordable homes on the ground through what will become Housing Australia, that's currently the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation."See more from Australia Today on vice.com and on TikTok.Aleksandra Bliszczyk is the Deputy Editor of VICE Australia. Follow her on Instagram.