Housing is fundamental to all Australians and our housing market has a significant influence on a number of key social and economic aspects of society.
- From a social perspective, housing provides a stable base from which we can participate in society, form families, and enjoy retirement. Housing can determine lifetime education, employment, and health outcomes.
- From an economic perspective, housing has a significant impact upon investment, productivity and participation, as well as consumption and saving trends across the economy.
Housing is also central to the effectiveness of Australia’s welfare system.
Governments play a significant role in the housing market at two levels. The first is at the structural level, whereby governments determine the policy framework by which the overall market operates. The second is through direct interventions in the market, in circumstances where either the market is unable to provide appropriate outcomes for specific groups of people, or where governments are seeking to achieve specific outcomes.
At the structural level, influence over the housing market is split between the Commonwealth, state and territory, and local governments. The Commonwealth Government is largely responsible for the policy levers controlling housing demand; while state and territory, and local governments are almost exclusively responsible for the policy levers controlling housing supply.
With respect to direct assistance, the Commonwealth and states and territories provide approximately $10 billion per annum in housing assistance. The Commonwealth accounts for around 60 per cent of this assistance.
In 2015-16, it is anticipated that the Commonwealth will provide around $6.5 billion in housing assistance through agreements and programs including:
- National Affordable Housing Agreement
- Commonwealth Rent Assistance
- National Rental Affordability Scheme
- Building Better Regional Cities Program
- Housing Affordability Fund
The Department of Social Services continues to progress the housing matters for which it is responsible. Submissions to parliamentary inquiries into affordable housing and home ownership, as well as related housing resources and websites, are available from the housing resources and submissions page.