National Housing and Homelessness Agreement published

The details of the NHHA and Chair of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation have been announced

26 June 2018

The Australian Government has published the details of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, which was created in the 2017-18 Australian Budget and comes into effect on 1 July 2018.

Starting in 2018-19, the Commonwealth will contribute to the State and Territory governments (the States) an estimated $1,536 million (GST exclusive) with the Commonwealth’s financial contribution being ongoing and indexed annually from 2019-20. The Agreement will expire on 30 June 2023 and be replaced for further terms of up to five years by the written agreement of the Commonwealth and the States.

The Agreement recognises that the Commonwealth and the States have a mutual interest in improving housing outcomes across the housing spectrum, including outcomes for Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and that they need to work together to achieve those outcomes. It also acknowledges that there are a range of factors beyond the Agreement that impact the housing market, including Commonwealth and State tax settings, financial sector regulation, immigration, income support and rental subsidies.

Under the Agreement the States are required to:

  • develop bilateral schedules in consultation with the Commonwealth
  • deliver on agreed outputs
  • provide evidence of the delivery of outputs
  • match Commonwealth homelessness (including homelessness SACS) funding on a dollar for dollar basis during each financial year
  • be responsible for social housing and homelessness services, administration and delivery to support local needs
  • have a publicly available housing strategy that:
    • indicates the level of housing supply needed to respond to projected housing demand, and outlines the reforms and initiatives that will contribute to meeting this need
    • includes planned or expected levels of social housing
    • details how the State will contribute to the housing priority policy areas.
  • have a publicly available homelessness strategy that:
    • addresses the priority homelessness cohorts
    • sets out reforms and initiatives that will contribute to a reduction in the incidence of homelessness
    • incorporates homelessness priority policy reform areas.

Among its obligations, the Commonwealth agrees to provide a financial contribution to the States; monitor and assess performance to ensure outputs are delivered within agreed timeframes; and lead the development of data improvements and a nationally consistent data set with data contributions from the States through a Housing and Homelessness Data Working Group.

The Working Group may include representatives from each State, Commonwealth Departments and other experts including Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).

The Australian Government has also announced the appointment of Mr Brendan Crotty as the inaugural Chair of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) for a period of three years. Mr Crotty brings a high level of financial and property sector experience to the NHFIC Board. He is currently a director of Brickworks Limited, General Property Trust and Dennis Family Holdings Pty Ltd and was Chairman of Western Sydney Parklands Trust for 9 years to the end of 2017. He was also the Managing Director of Australand Property Group from 1990 to 2007.

The NHFIC will administer the affordable housing bond aggregator to provide cheaper and longer-term finance for community housing providers.