Councils call for affordable housing

A group of councils in Melbourne’s east is calling for the Federal Government to commit to funding the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) in the upcoming Budget.

The Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance (EAHA) comprises Knox City Council, City of Monash, Manningham City Council, City of Whitehorse, Maroondah City Council and Yarra Ranges Council.

EAHA Chairperson, Councillor Sharon Ellis, said recent suggestions that the NAHA could be sliced in this year’s Federal Budget are alarming.

“Federal Government funding is vital for public housing and homelessness services. If media suggestions are correct and the Federal Government intends to axe NAHA funding, countless vulnerable Australians will be at increased risk of homelessness.

“Despite persistent advice from the community sector, the Federal Government seems bent on taking this important decision without consultation, ignoring calls for reform and revision in favour of abolition.

“The Federal Council on Financial Relations is doing important work with the development of a bond aggregator model, but this should not occur at the expense of the NAHA.

“The Alliance calls on the Turnbull Government to appoint a Federal Housing Minister and develop a Federal Housing Strategy in consultation with States and Territories. The Strategy should identify and commit to minimum national targets for the supply of social housing.

“The Alliance supports the housing-related recommendations in the ACOSS federal budget submission, including calls to reform capital gains tax, establish a long term affordable housing growth fund and housing finance intermediary and review commonwealth rent assistance.

“Without meaningful intervention from the Federal Government the lack of social and affordable housing for vulnerable residents in the Eastern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne – and across the nation – will continue to grow.”