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Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has proposed the creation of a new $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund to tackle the housing affordability and homelessness crises.
“I’m proud to say that Labor in government will create a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, with the annual investment return to build social and affordable housing and create thousands of jobs,” Mr Albanese said.
Labor’s latest counter-proposal comes just days after the 2021 federal budget confirmed that the government would continue to support the state and territory governments through $124.7 million in funding for social and community housing. The figure also represents a significant increase on Labor’s 2020 budget reply callout for a $500 million investment in social housing.
Announced as part of the opposition’s formal budget reply speech, the proposed Housing Australia Future Fund would see a Labor government build 20,000 social housing properties over the first five years.
Approximately 4,000 of these properties will be reserved for women and children suffering from domestic and family violence and older women with low incomes. Another 10,000 are being reserved for “heroes of the pandemic” like nurses, police, emergency service workers and cleaners.
Labor expects the initiative will create over 21,500 jobs each year, with one in 10 on-site roles said to be suitable for apprentices. Overall, Labor said the measure will inject $34.8 billion into the economy over five years.
Additionally, Mr Albanese said that returns from the Housing Australia Future Fund over the first five years will also be used to fund a number of more targeted attempts to address homelessness and housing affordability across the country. Specifically, this includes:
Moreover, Mr Albanese revealed that the fund itself would be managed by the existing Future Fund Board of Guardians, which includes former Howard-government treasurer Peter Costello. Returns generated by the investment will then land in the hands of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.
“This will make money, create jobs, build homes and change lives,” said shadow minister for housing and homelessness Jason Clare.