February 15, 2023
Dr HAINES (Indi) (18:43): by leave—I move amendments (1) to (4) and (7) as circulated in my name together:
(1) Clause 5, page 3 (after line 4), after the definition of Chair, insert:
critical enabling infrastructure, for new social or affordable housing, means:
(a) infrastructure critical to support the new housing, including new or upgraded infrastructure for services such as water, sewerage, electricity, telecommunications or transportation; or
(b) site remediation works relating to the new housing, including the removal of hazardous waste or contaminated material.
(2) Clause 5, page 3 (after line 13), after the definition of member, insert:
regional, rural and remote Australia means an area that is classified as inner regional Australia, outer regional Australia, remote Australia or very remote Australia under the Remoteness Structure described in:
(a) the document titled “Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5—Remoteness Structure, July 2016”, published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as amended from time to time; or
(b) the most recent replacement of the document referred to in paragraph (a) that is published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as amended from time to time.
Note: The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5—Remoteness Structure, July 2016 could in 2023 be viewed on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website (https://www.abs.gov.au).
(3) Clause 9, page 5 (after line 25), after paragraph (1)(b), insert:
(ba) to advise the Minister on matters relating to housing supply and affordability in regional, rural and remote Australia;
(4) Clause 9, page 6 (line 7), after “homelessness”, insert “, critical enabling infrastructure for new social and affordable housing”.
(7) Clause 22, page 13 (after line 29), after subclause (3), insert:
(3A) Despite subsection (3), at least one of the appointed members must have:
(a) substantial experience, expertise or qualifications; and
(b) significant standing;
in relation to housing needs in regional, rural and remote Australia.
As I’ve said, the previous government’s National Housing Infrastructure Facility manifestly failed to build much-needed houses. No funding was directed specifically towards regional Australia—or to rural or remote Australia—in the way that we needed it to happen, and I don’t want to see a situation like this again. I will keep working until I see government funds for housing go to where they are desperately needed: regional Australia.
The council’s role is to advise the government on how the Housing Australia Future Fund should be distributed and to assist them in making well-informed decisions. The amendments circulated add two additional functions to the council: first, to advise the minister on housing supply and affordability in regional, rural, remote and Australia; and, second, to include critical enabling infrastructure when it’s monitoring conditions that impact housing supply. I’ve said a lot about that already. I won’t go over it. But, if the government are not receiving advice on these areas, they won’t know where the problems are and they won’t know to how to fix them.
I’ve said again and again that we can’t fix housing supply if we don’t fix critical enabling infrastructure. My amendments put regional, rural and remote Australia and critical enabling infrastructure on the council’s agenda and, therefore, on the government’s agenda. Again I call on all members of the House, most particularly members from rural, regional, and remote Australia—I note that the member for Bass gets this and has been thinking about these things and has been voting accordingly. I call on all members—sincerely, I do—to have a think about who you’re representing and make sure that the regions truly get their fair share of this important legislation.
Mr Deputy Speaker Vasta, I thank you for this opportunity to speak, and I call on the minister to support these amendments.