Statement by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Joint Communique – Meeting of the Housing Ministers’ Conference – Melbourne

The Housing Ministers Conference (HMC) met in Melbourne today.

Housing Ministers discussed outcomes of joint programs that focused on housing supply for Australians particularly those on low and moderate incomes.

Impact of Stimulus on the Housing Market

Since the announcement of the Social Housing Initiative in February 2009, the program has delivered much needed social housing in excess of $4.3 billion of capital and maintenance works.  Construction has commenced on more than 18,200 dwellings, including almost 7,000 completed as at the end of November.  Despite the good progress, there have been delays in progressing some stimulus constructions due to heavy rainfall across many States and Territories. Housing Ministers have agreed to complete 75 per cent of all construction under the Social Housing Initiative by the end of February 2011.

Repairs and maintenance works have benefited 80,000 dwellings, including 12,000 that would otherwise be uninhabitable.  It is expected around 31,000 people will benefit from this significant investment in social housing.

Improving Support for Homelessness

Housing Ministers discussed key achievements under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessnesss for 2009-2010 and agreed to the publication of the 2009-10 National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness State and Territory Government Annual Performance Reports early next year.

Jurisdictions are now well into the second year of delivery under the $1.1 billion National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness and are seeing the results of efforts and resources invested so far.  More than 190 new and expanded homelessness services will be funded under this agreement.

HMC also agreed that Housing Ministers’ Advisory Council review the progress to date on initiatives supporting core events of care under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, “exits from care”, and report back to Housing Ministers on achievements to date and any lessons for the future. The process will begin with a focus on lessons learnt from implementing initiatives to achieve successful transitions from care and custodial settings into long-term, affordable housing.


Dr Ian Winter, Executive Director from Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute presented to Ministers on how housing inequality can create and contribute to a broad range of adverse health, social and economic outcomes.

Remote Indigenous Housing

Ministers confirmed their commitment to the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing, noting the importance of meeting targets for new and refurbished houses and Indigenous employment outcomes and to progress associated reforms.

Regulation of the Not-for Profit Sector

Ministers agreed to the implementation of a nationally consistent regulatory system for not-for-profit housing providers, which will provide more opportunities for growth within this sector of the housing market.

Not-for-profit providers are demonstrating they are able to raise significant private capital for the delivery of new social housing. Uniform regulation will safeguard current and future investment in the sector, boost the professional reputation of registered providers and reduce red tape.

Governments will work collaboratively to implement a nationally consistent regulatory system based on a national code that will help to promote the growth of the not-for-profit housing sector.