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Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Communiqué – Progress of housing Ministers’ reforms

Joint Statements:

Housing Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories and the Australian Local Government Association met in Canberra today to progress their extensive work program on housing supply, social housing and homelessness.

People who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless will also benefit from the Ministers’ agreement to a National Quality Framework that will support high quality service provision in this field. A series of public workshops will be held across Australia in late February and March 2010 to discuss service quality issues in the mainstream and specialist homeless service sector. Ministers emphasised the importance of involving mainstream and allied services as well as specialist homelessness services in the consultations, noting that people who are homeless often have multiple and complex needs and require a range of different services. Ministers proposed a joint meeting with Community and Disability Services Ministers in mid 2010 to discuss potential models for the National Quality Framework

The $5.64 billion social housing component of the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan is having a positive impact on the standard of public housing and on the construction industry in the Ministers’ various jurisdictions. By the end of January 2010, construction had commenced on 7,784 new homes across the nation, a number of which will have a six-star energy rating to assist the environment. More than 59,000 existing social housing dwellings have benefitted from repairs and maintenance. The Social Housing Initiative is a commitment by Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to significantly increase the supply of social housing across the country and provide accommodation to many disadvantaged Australians, particularly those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

State and Territory Housing Ministers reported on the progress made on implementing the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, in advance of formal reporting to the Council of Australian Governments in mid-2010. Housing Ministers noted that the COAG Reform Council (CRC) will also report to COAG on progress of reforms under National Affordable Housing Agreement in April 2010.

Ministers noted the development of the Commonwealth’s Community Housing Discussion Paper on the regulation and growth of the not for profit housing sector. To ensure that all voices are heard, the discussion paper seeking detailed feedback from the not for profit sector, investors, tenant groups and the business community will be released in coming weeks.

Housing Ministers have also committed to developing an integrated housing strategy for the consideration of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in the second half of 2010.

Ministers also gave further consideration to discussions with Planning Ministers at the Joint Housing and Planning Ministers meeting just prior to HMC. Ministers noted the considerable contribution that improvements in land use and planning can make to housing supply and affordability. All Ministers agreed to a collegiate approach in accelerating housing and planning reform to achieve these outcomes.