Affordable housing plan bound for battle in Senate

A housing battle looms for the federal government as it tries to push through a key election promise to help ease pressure in the property market.

The government’s signature $10 billion housing fund is set to pass the lower house, but with the coalition opposing the plan, the Greens hold the keys to getting it through the Senate.

Greens leader Adam Bandt said to secure his party’s support, the government needed to “do better” on housing, including a much greater investment in social housing and measures to help renters.

“We will continue to work with the government over the coming weeks to make this better because people need it to be better,” he told parliament.

“Renters need this bill to be better, First Nations communities need it to be better, everyone who is struggling to put an affordable roof over their head needs this government to do better.”

The Greens want a minimum of $5 billion invested in social and affordable housing every year.

They argue the 30,000 homes to be built over five years are well below what is needed and the $500 million annual spending cap is too restrictive.

Labor MP Josh Burns said there was “no way” the Greens would vote against the bill when the time came.

“If they do, they’ll have to explain to women and children who are constantly being turned away from shelters … the Greens didn’t think that it was up to their lofty standards to support the construction of 4000 extra dwellings around the country,” he said.

“For goodness sake, you cannot call yourself serious about supporting those in social housing by denying 20,000 social homes … that is not how you progress things in this place.”

Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mathers said the party wanted to work with the government to improve its housing plan.

“The Greens want to negotiate on behalf of the millions of Australians screwed over by a housing system that generates massive profits for banks and property developers and higher rents, mortgages and financial stress for everyone else,” he said.


Maeve Bannister
(Australian Associated Press)


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