7 September 2023
Dr Haines: My question is to the housing minister. I acknowledge the government’s commitments of $500 million to the Housing Support program, $2 billion for the Social Housing Accelerator and $3 billion through the new homes bonus. But, despite one in three Australians living outside a major city, not one of these announcements is dedicated to funding housing in regional, rural or remote Australia. Why won’t this government guarantee funding for dedicated housing supply in regional Australia?
Housing Minister: I thank the member for Indi for her question. The member for Indi and I have had many conversations about how important it is to make sure that regional Australia does get its fair share of housing. Whether they be regional towns, regional centres or regional cities, we hear very frequently that there are housing shortages, and it is particularly impacting businesses that can get workers, because there’s nowhere for them to live, and particularly key workers in essential services—nurses, doctors, police. They have nowhere to live in these regional towns. So we understand how critical it is. Indeed, we understand how critical it is across the country but particularly in those regional towns with the impact it’s having. That’s why, of course, we brought forward our Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee. I’m pleased to update the member that 9,000 people in regional Australia have now bought their first home because we brought forward that program. We now have over 9,000 Australians in their own home because of that.
I also want to reassure the member that, when it comes to the Housing Accord, the 10,000 affordable homes that the Commonwealth are committed to, we have taken steps to ensure that each state and territory and, indeed, regional and rural Australia gets its fair share of homes from the Housing Accord.
I would say the member for Indi and many other people in this room actually care about regional Australia and housing and actually want to hear this answer, unlike those opposite. We’re going to make sure—and I reiterate our commitment that, under the Housing Australia Future Fund, the 30,000 houses will be going to regional and rural Australia in their fair share as well as, of course, around the rest of the country, and each state and territory will get their fair share.