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Housing Australia Future Fund deferred by Senate

The Albanese government’s Housing Australia Future Fund was rejected by the Senate, deferring the bill until October.

The Coalition and the Greens united to vote against Labor’s proposed $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund Bill. The fund is aimed at delivering around 1 million private homes and 40,000 social and affordable homes over the next five years.

According to the Greens, the national cabinet needs to determine its approach to the current rental crisis before the party will allow the bill to pass.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt stated that the pressure is now on the Prime Minister and Labor premiers to act on a rent freeze and limit rent increases.

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“This is a test for Labor. It’s wall-to-wall Labor across the mainland, so rent rises are their responsibility,” Mr Bandt said.

“For months we have been calling for two things: real money on housing now, not after the next election, and action to limit soaring rents. For months Labor has said this was impossible. Over the weekend, Labor found an extra $2 billion to start going out the door in two weeks’ time, but they still won’t act on rents.

“If Labor acts on soaring rents at national cabinet, their bill can pass.”

Indeed, the Albanese government did announce on Saturday, 17 July 2023 the introduction of the Social Housing Accelerator, a $2 billion investment aimed at delivering thousands of new social homes across Australia.

The Albanese government’s investment in housing and homelessness now totals more than $9.5 billion with the addition of this $2 billion funding.

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The Greens drew the ire of the Prime Minister, who called out the Greens for deferring the bill.

“At least those opposite in the Liberal Party don’t pretend. They would have the guts to vote against public housing,” Mr Albanese said.

“I said to the leader of the Greens this morning, to vote against it [the bill], [is] to say that you’re against 30,000 additional social housing units, including housing for women and children escaping domestic violence, including housing for veterans, and including housing for those in Indigenous communities.”

Minister for Housing, Julie Collins, expressed disappointment over the bill’s delay, labelling the Senate’s decision as “politics above people”.

“What delays mean is $1.3 million every day after the first of July in money that wouldn’t be going into social and affordable housing in Australia,” Ms Collins stated.

“What it means is $250 million every six months of delay. What we’re doing as a government is getting on with the job of delivering more houses.”

[RELATED: Labor announces $2bn social housing investment]

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