Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Social housing expert panel established to advise on future reforms

The Australian Government today announced the establishment of expert panel to advise the Government on improving the current social housing system and how best to provide housing assistance for Australians in need.

Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib announced the Committee, to be Chaired by Dr Jeff Harmer AO, at a forum for housing reform in Melbourne, held by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

Senator Arbib said the committee would advise on how to boost the supply of social housing for Australians in need and how to ensure that support for tenants was effective and equitable.

“For too long, the social housing system has been inadequate and it is time for governments of all levels to work together to reform social housing,” Senator Arbib said.

“Social housing is intended to be an effective safety net for Australians in need of support and help them to get back onto their feet – but there is a need for reform.

“The Federal Labor Government has provided the largest single investment in social housing in history, investing $6 billion to build more than 21,000 new social housing dwellings. More than 16,000 are now complete.

“However, we have come off a history of extreme underinvestment and neglect of social housing, with 33,000 public housing dwellings lost to stock in the decade prior to 2007.”

Minister Arbib said committee members provided a breadth of knowledge and experience about housing, including backgrounds in finance, affordable housing, public housing and tenant needs.

“Innovative solutions for the future are required if we are to meet the shortfall of around 150,000 social housing homes by 2020,” Senator Arbib said.

“There are currently more than 60,000 households in greatest need on social housing waiting lists around the country, many of whom are waiting up to two years to be allocated a home.

“It is unacceptable that many Australians are without access to basic, affordable housing and it is my priority to ensure governments, the community housing sector, private financial institutions, and tenants’ organisations are working together to deliver a strong, sustainable future for social housing.”

The Australian Government provides more than $20 billion in investment for housing affordability, including $6.2 billion to the states and territories under the National Affordable Housing Agreement to support the management of social housing.

Social Housing Advisory Committee members

Member Organisation
Dr Jeff Harmer AO (Chair) Former Secretary of FaHCSIA
Dr Owen Donald Chair, National Housing Supply Council
Former Director of Housing Victoria
Former CEO of AHURI
Mr David Cant Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Brisbane Housing Company.
Member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness
Ms Carol Croce Executive Director of the Community Housing Federation of Australia (CHFA).
Professor Julian Disney Chair of National Affordable Housing Summit Group
Professor and Director of the Social Justice Project at the University of New South Wales
Mr Daniel Grollo Chief Executive Officer, Grocon
Ms Carrie Hamilton NSW Finance Manager, Affordable Housing Solutions
Mr William (Sam) Jeffries Deputy Chairperson, Indigenous Land Corporation
Mr Chris Lamont Chief Executive Officer, Goodwin Aged Care Services
Former Group Manager of the Social Housing Initiative at FaHCSIA�
Former Chief Executive-Association of the Housing Industry Association
Mr Michael Lennon Chief Executive Officer, Housing Choices Australia
Mr Adrian Pisarski Chair, National Shelter
Executive Officer, Queensland Shelter
Ms Nazha Saad Chief Executive Officer, St George Community Housing
Mr Nigel Satterley Managing Director and Chief Executive, Satterley Property Group
Special Advisors Organisation
Dr Tim Williams Director, Publicani Consulting
Dr Ian Winter Executive Director, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
Mr Ross Jordan Company Secretary, Defence Housing Australia