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National cabinet agrees to new ‘ambitious’ housing target

The national cabinet has agreed to an updated target of 1.2 million new homes over five years.

During a national cabinet meeting held in Brisbane on Wednesday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced a comprehensive set of reforms designed to empower renters, invigorate housing supply, and streamline planning regulations.

This move addresses the pressing demand for affordable housing options amid a housing supply shortage grappling the nation.

“National cabinet has agreed to an ambitious new national target to build 1.2 million new well-located homes over five years, from 1 July 2024,” Mr Albanese said.

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“This is an additional 200,000 new homes above the National Housing Accord target agreed by states and territories last year.”

The Commonwealth is set to inject $3 billion in performance-based funding; the New Home Bonus is an incentive for states and territories that surpass their share of the 1 million well-located home target established under the National Housing Accord.

“This will incentivise states and territories to undertake the reforms necessary to boost housing supply and increase housing affordability, making a positive and practical difference for Australians planning to buy a home,” Mr Albanese said.

This target will be supported by the Housing Support Program, a $500 million competitive funding program for local and state governments to kick-start housing supply in well-located areas through targeted activation payments for things like connecting essential services, amenities to support new housing development, or building planning capability.

The revised target aims to align housing supply with projected demand over the next five years.

National cabinet has also endorsed a National Planning Reform Blueprint, which aims to simplify planning requirements and cut through red tape.

This blueprint will involve updating strategic plans at various levels to reflect housing supply targets, promoting medium and high-density housing near existing public transport hubs, amenities, and job centres.

Additionally, the approval process will be streamlined to foster smoother housing development, Mr Albanese explained.

Renter reforms also made the agenda, with national cabinet agreeing to adopt a nationally consistent policy to establish genuine and reasonable grounds for eviction.

This approach seeks to curtail arbitrary evictions, with a focus on tenants’ rights.

Rent increases will also be limited to once a year across fixed and ongoing agreements, to ensure a more stable rental landscape for tenants and measures will be taken to ban rent bidding, providing a level playing field for renters.

“These changes will make a tangible impact for the almost one-third of Australian households who rent,” Mr Albanese said.

Furthermore, tenants experiencing domestic or family violence will be granted the right to terminate agreements, change locks, and have their names removed from databases.

[Related: Rent freeze needed to save $4.9bn, says Greens]

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