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Calls for Abbott government to continue NRAS support

By Vivienne Kelly
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After recent criticisms levied at the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), one industry body has urged the government not to scrap the program.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has called on the Australian government to recommit to the scheme.

“NRAS has been a driver of affordable housing projects across Australia,” GBCA’s chief operating officer, Robin Mellon, said.

“Rather than scrapping the scheme, the Abbott government has the opportunity to make a good scheme even better.”

According to the GBCA, since the scheme was established it has delivered 14,500 homes with allocations for a further 23,000. The association said NRAS also supported Australia’s residential construction industry through the global financial crisis. 

Mr Mellon said ongoing support for the scheme was essential to tackle the country’s affordability and supply issues.

“Increasing housing affordability in Australia requires a range of complementary measures, together with commitment from industry and all levels of government. NRAS is a vital piece of the jigsaw – one that we can’t afford to lose,” he said.

Despite increased scrutiny, Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research, said the scheme is unlikely to be scrapped when the May federal Budget rolls around.

“NRAS will likely be kept. Indeed it may well be expanded. Certainly the public/private partnership fits with Liberals’ view of the world, as opposed to just providing welfare for social housing,” he said.

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