NHC speakers share international housing perspectives from Ireland, New Zealand and Canada

What can Australia learn from likeminded countries when it comes to housing policy?

1 August 2019

The NHC’s fourth and final plenary session, 'Four Nations: Perspectives from Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and Australia', will bring together housing leaders from around the world to ask the question; what can Australia learn from likeminded countries when it comes to national approaches to housing policy?

In this fascinating international plenary panel, hear about each countries national approach to housing before we examine lessons to be learned for Australia. The international keynotes joining Michael Fotheringham, Director of the Australian Housing and Urban research Institute, will be:

David Silke, Housing Agency—Ireland

Ireland has responded to the Global Financial Crisis with the ambitious The Rebuilding Ireland Plan – a €6 billion, multi-annual, broadly based action plan for housing and homelessness. Rebuilding Ireland seeks to increase the overall supply of new homes to 25,000 per annum by 2020; deliver an additional 50,000 social housing units in the period to 2021; and meet the housing needs of an additional 87,000 households through the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme and the Rental Accommodation Scheme.

David Silke will be joining the Four Nations panel to discuss Ireland’s approach to housing affordability and supply. David is the Director of Research and Corporate Affairs in the Housing Agency, which is a statutory body set up under the aegis of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in Ireland. The Agency provides the Department, local authorities and approved (non-profit) housing bodies with support and advice on the delivery of housing and housing services.

Philippa Howden-Chapman, University of Otago—New Zealand

New Zealand is embarking on a Wellbeing Budget, putting vulnerable people at its centre and promising to reimagine mental health treatment and crime prevention in the country. The budget centres around; ‘taking mental health seriously’, which includes an approach for tackling homelessness, ‘improving child wellbeing’, ‘supportive Maori and pasifika aspirations’ and other infrastructural changes that invest in holistic measures such as healthcare, job opportunities and transport. This follows the commencement of the KiwiBuild program - KiwiBuild is increasing the supply of affordable homes by incentivising property developers to build more affordable, high-quality, starter homes for eligible New Zealanders. KiwiBuild is committed to building 100,000 affordable, modest starter homes over the next 10 years. Most importantly, KiwiBuild is designed to help first home buyers to own their own home.

Philippa Howden-Chapman, professor of public health at the University of Otago, will join us to discuss New Zealand’s approach to housing policy, and how the Wellbeing Budget will influence the approach. Philippa is co-director of He Kāinga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme and director of the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities. Her team’s randomised community trials, in partnership with local communities, provide evidence to inform housing, health, safety and energy policy.

Steve Pomeroy, Focus Consulting—Canada

Canada has a similar federated system of government and a national strategy to Australia, and several linkages can be made between the demographics and political standing of the two countries. At the 2017 NHC we were presented with A National Housing Strategy for Canada. Two years on, we will hear about the steps taken towards ensuring all Canadians should have access to the safe and affordable housing they need.

Steve Pomeroy is Head of Focus Consulting Inc. and Senior Research Fellow for the Centre for Urban Research and Education (CURE) at Carleton University, Ottawa. In 1994 Steve established Focus Consulting Inc. and has since then has completed over 130 reports and studies and strategies covering issues of socio-economic analysis, homelessness, housing policy and financing. His work also includes a number of comparative studies examining housing systems across a range of countries, compared to Canada.

Dr Michael Fotheringham, AHURI—Australia

Following each international keynote presentation, AHURI’s Executive Director Dr Michael Fotheringham will offer insight into what Australia may be able to learn from the international case studies, before the panel and audience further debate what Australia needs to do as a nation to deliver a stable and diverse housing system for our future communities.

The National Housing Conference is the largest gathering for the social and affordable housing sectors in Australasia and for the first time, it will be held in Darwin this year, from Tue 27 – Fri 30 August 2019. To view the program and register, head to the NHC website.