Urgent funding needed to address Australia’s housing crisis


Local government and community housing leaders are calling for urgent funding in the upcoming Federal Budget to address Australia’s affordable and social housing crisis.

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), with support from the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) and National Shelter, is seeking $100 million per year over four years that would assist councils to facilitate more affordable and social housing across the nation.

ALGA Vice President Mayor Matt Burnett said Australia’s 537 councils play a key role in facilitating affordable and social housing but could do much more with better funding partnerships.

“As a signatory to the National Housing Accord, ALGA is working collaboratively towards a national response to the worsening housing crisis,” Mayor Burnett said.

“The Government has set an ambitious target of delivering one million new homes from 2024, but this needs to be supported with funding that will enable councils to invest in the physical and social infrastructure necessary for healthy communities.

“Many councils across the country are already investing in innovative affordable housing solutions tailored to the needs of their local communities but more support is needed.

“ALGA is seeking $100 million per year over four years to help councils undertake activities that support additional housing in their communities. For example, this could include land audits, housing assessments, partnership development, development of innovative models and business cases for housing construction, and community engagement and awareness campaigns.”

The latest analysis by the UNSW City Futures Research Centre revealed 640,000 Australian households (or one in 15 households) were in housing stress. Without intervention, this figure is projected to rise to 940,000 by 2041. The data also shows every community in Australia is affected.

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) CEO Wendy Hayhurst said: “The Commonwealth has laid important foundations for expanding social and affordable rental housing through their Housing Australia Future Fund.

“This proposal will help to get the best results from the fund, by building on the strong partnerships that already exist between Community Housing Organisations and councils and speed up delivery of the right homes in the right places.”

National Shelter CEO Emma Greenhalgh said: “National Shelter and the Shelter network know that local government are critical partners to address the housing crisis.

“The Shelter network works closely with local government across Australia to plan and deliver affordable housing in their communities.”

In summary, and in the lead-up to the Federal Budget, ALGA, supported by CHIA and National Shelter, is calling for:

  • $100 million per year over four years for a local government-specific grant program for councils to provide housing solutions in local communities;
  • The development of a national affordable housing strategy;
  • Funding to support councils to invest in essential engineering and community infrastructure to support the construction of one million new homes from 2024; and
  • Further investment by all levels of government and the private sector in affordable and social housing, particularly rental housing.