Anthony Albanese has triumphantly steered his renowned housing plan to legislative victory after securing crossbench backing. Following a domino dance of negotiation between parliament’s two houses, the Housing Australia Future Fund Bill (HAFF) at last reached approval this Thursday.
Pioneered as a mechanism to galvanize Australia’s housing landscape, the HAFF will invest $10 billion in the Future Fund. It commits to deploying a minimum of $500 million annually towards the creation of at least 30,000 homes over a five-year span.
Bolstering this ambitious venture, it was announced earlier this week that the federal government will augment the project with an additional $1 billion. This pledge, earmarked for public and community housing, is a trade-off for securing the critical support of the Green Party, thereby breaking several months of deadlock between the Labor Party and its minor counterpart. Alongside this, a $2 billion fund for public housing was announced in June, further sweetening the deal.
The Primeminister heralded the policy as “the single biggest investment in housing” seen in over a decade. As the Bill found approval in the House of Representatives on Thursday, Albanese seized the moment to underline the fulfillment of Labor’s key electoral pledges.
This triumph, asserted Albanese alongside Housing Minister Julie Collins, is a monumental moment for the country. They project the freshly-minted legislation as “life-changing”, promising a positive impact that will resonate through “generations of Australians”.
In a message of gratitude extended to the crossbench, especially the Greens, Albanese declared, “We are working for Australia and we are delivering on our commitments each and every day.” He emphasizes the united front against the opposition, who “continue to say no”.
Collins announced plans for immediate action, with states and territories already vying for access to the available funds. She elaborated on coordinated efforts with community housing providers and states, all of whom are primed and ready to execute their plans.
On addressing issues of escalating rental costs, Collins informed that a meeting between housing ministers is in the pipeline to engineer nationwide consistency on renters’ rights. She acknowledged the hardships being faced by the Australian public and renters, underlining that the solution lies in the increase of supply which, in turn, will put a downward pressure on rents.
Despite the national cabinet agreeing to limit rent increases to once a year in August, there is opposition against rent freezes from all state and territory governments. Notably, the Greens remain steadfast on preserving renters’ rights and caution Labor about potential losses in forthcoming elections if they fail to acknowledge and adjust their stand on rents.
Specific seats such as Sydney, held by Tanya Plibersek, and Macnamara in inner Melbourne, overseen by Josh Burns, are perceived as key targets for the Greens.