Housing development under construction

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has called on the Federal Government to increase funding for its new Housing Support Program to $750 million.

The Federal Government has currently committed $500 million to the program.

The Housing Support Program aims to empower local governments to help deliver the Federal Government’s housing targets and enable vital investment in new housing developments.

The program – which has been welcomed by local government – is intended to provide funding for connecting essential services, amenities to support new housing development and building planning capability.

ALGA President, Councillor Linda Scott, said the ALGA is a proud signatory of the National Housing Accord, which has set a target of 1.2 million new, well-located homes over the next five years.

However, the current $500 million Housing Support Program only equates to about $400 per home, based on the target of 1.2 million homes. 

Cr Scott said that given the costs of civil and essential services infrastructure in greenfield or infill development, the program funding is insufficient.

“While we welcome the Government’s housing fund for enabling infrastructure investment in new developments, this is nowhere near enough to help deliver on Australia’s ambitious national housing targets,” Cr Scott said.

“Preparing new land releases will cost billions of dollars, with much of the pressure falling on a small number of councils that will be expected to take on the majority of new housing.

“While we desperately need more affordable housing, this has to be supported by local infrastructure and services that will enable healthy and connected communities, especially in regional and remote areas.

“This means we need more swimming pools to provide relief on hot days, more libraries to run community programs and more bike paths for active transport and better environmental outcomes.

“Developer contributions are vital to building this infrastructure, but we also want to see the Housing Support Program expanded by $250 million to better support councils to build the facilities our communities need.

“Upfront funding for community infrastructure is a matter of intergenerational equity.  We have to address this issue now before we build 1.2 million new homes, as it will only get more expensive to retrofit solutions,” Cr Scott said.

National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) Chair, Councillor Matthew Deeth, said, “Our fast-growing outer metropolitan cities and suburbs have been shouldering the housing development burden for decades.

“Our communities – making up around one-fifth of Australia’s population – live with infrastructure deficits and challenges accessing employment, health care and community facilities other parts of the country take for granted.

“It is important we learn from the past and establish effective partnerships and funding models involving all levels of government if we genuinely care about the future of our growing communities,” Cr Deeth said.

Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) Chief Executive Officer, Wendy Hayhurst, said, “Our country has a desperate shortfall of community housing, and on current trends, close to one million low-income Australians’ housing needs will not be met by 2041.

“As well as building homes, we need to ensure the people who live in them have access to great community infrastructure. We’ve recently done research that demonstrates the positive health and wellbeing benefits from living near well-designed parks with playgrounds, picnic spaces and cycle paths.

“Our tenants also need free and low-cost services run out of libraries, health clinics and community centres. These are the services that really allow a community to flourish and they must be robustly funded,” Ms Hayhurst said.

In summary, with support from the NGAA and CHIA, ALGA is calling for the 2024-25 Federal Budget to include:

  • An increase in the Government’s Housing Support Program from $500 million to $750 million
  • The additional $250 million is to be made available to local governments for infrastructure to improve the liveability of new housing developments
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