HAINES: My question as to the minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. Last year, I welcomed the government’s announcement of the $500 million Housing Support Program to fund housing-enabling infrastructure. It’s what I’ve been calling for for almost two years. But now, more than seven months later, there are no guidelines, no applications, no dollars and no new houses. When will Housing Support Program money actually start to flow?

MINISTER KING: I thank the member for Indi for her question and her interest in the Housing Support Program, and I also note her longstanding commitment to ensuring that regional communities like mine have the housing, infrastructure and funding that they need to thrive. I am very pleased to advise the member that it is my intention and the intention of my colleague the Minister for Housing to open this program next week. This will be the first round of the program, addressing planning capacity, with the second round, focusing on infrastructure and services, to be opened shortly thereafter.

This program forms part of the government’s commitment to addressing housing supply and affordability. It includes the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund to support the delivery of new social and affordable rental homes; the $3 billion through the New Homes Bonus to incentivise states and territories to build 1.2 million homes; $2 billion through the Social Housing Accelerator to permanently increase the stock of social housing; and the national housing accord, which aligns all levels of government, institutional investors and the construction sector, to actually unlock housing—all initiatives of the Albanese Labor government.

I’m pleased to be administering the $500 million Housing Support Program, an important part of the Australian government’s efforts. The program, as you know, will provide funding for planning capability, to get more housing approvals through the system more quickly, and for getting strategic plans in place to unlock new sites for housing investment, whether they be in Wodonga, in Benalla, in Beechworth or in Bright, or anywhere else across Australia. The funding will work alongside the Planning Reform Blueprint, through which first ministers agreed to a range of planning reforms to accelerate housing supply in well-located areas. The Housing Support Program will also fund connections to essential services so that new housing isn’t held up by delays to sewerage, to local roads and to connection to utilities. State, territory and local government have been calling for this funding, including in regional communities like the ones that the member for Indi and I represent. I’m pleased that this is a program that the Australian government is delivering, and I will welcome the applications from local government and state governments following the announcement next week.

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