Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

20,000 Social and Defence Homes – Nation Building Investment

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Kevin Rudd MP, The Prime Minister
    The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
    The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Housing and Minister for the Status of Women

To support jobs and invest in the long term future of the Australian economy and the Australian community the Rudd Government will construct over 20,000 new homes.

Under this historic program, the Government will construct 20,000 new social housing dwellings and 802 new houses for Australian Defence Force personnel.

This program will also fund urgent maintenance to upgrade around 2,500 vacant social houses that would otherwise be unusable as social housing.

This program is a key element of the Government’s $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan to support up to 90,000 Australian jobs over the next two years.

The vast majority of houses built under this program will be completed by December 2010 – a massive and immediate support for jobs in the housing and construction industry.

This historic investment in housing infrastructure is also an investment in the future quality of life of low income Australians and Australians who serve and protect Australia in the Australian Defence Force.

Social Housing

This Program is a long term nation building investment that will build around 20,000 new social housing dwellings to provide much-needed accommodation for low income Australians who are homeless or struggling in the private rental market.

By increasing the supply of social housing, this package is a practical demonstration of the Rudd Government’s commitment to halve the number of homeless families and individuals in Australia by 2020.

The construction of new social houses will take place in two stages.

The first stage involves bringing forward for construction of approximately 2,300 social housing dwellings which were already planned and approved.

The second stage involves a Commonwealth Government-approved tender for new construction, including the spot purchases of house and land packages for use as public and community housing.

The majority of the second stage of construction will be completed by December 2010.

The package also includes an additional $400 million over two years for States and Territories to undertake urgent maintenance to lift the quality of public housing dwellings and upgrade approximately 2,500 vacant public housing dwellings that would otherwise be unable to remain as public housing.

These competitive tender funds will also be used to progress the Rudd Government’s reform agenda for public and community housing including the achievement of greater transparency and accountability, better economic and social participation for social housing tenants, and the growth of the not-for-profit housing sector.

Defence Housing

The Government will also provide $252 million to Defence Housing Australia (DHA) to build 802 new houses in metropolitan and regional centres nationwide.

Construction will commence in April 2009 and run through to March 2011, will be carried out in 17 areas including: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Hobart, Townsville, Cairns, The Hunter, Ipswich, Sale, Sydney, Wagga Wagga, Wodonga, Nowra and Toowoomba.

DHA plays an important role in delivering housing and housing related services to Defence personnel and their families. DHA currently manages approximately 17,000 properties across Australia.

This additional investment will provide a much-needed stimulus to the building and construction industry while providing support for jobs and flow-on effects to other parts of the economy.

This assistance for social and defence housing builds on the affordable housing measures announced by COAG late last year, the $2.2 billion of initiatives in the 2008 budget and the $1.5 billion for the First Home Owner Boost announced as part of the Government’s Economic Security Strategy in October last year.