Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Planning the Future of Not-for-Profit Housing Providers

The Australian Government today released its discussion paper on the community housing sector, Regulation and Growth of the not-for-profit housing sector.

The paper marks the start of a public consultation process about options for regulation and growth of not-for-profit housing providers in Australia, looking at ways that can better support and sustain this growing sector.

The community housing sector increased by a third between 2003 and 2008, demonstrating the ability of not-for-profit providers to build more homes when working with finance, developers and other commercial partners than would have been possible through government grants alone.

The Government supports these new partnerships and initiatives.

I want this paper to provoke debate and discussion and result in the best possible blueprint for growing and extending Not-for-Profit housing so the sector can take a stronger role in meeting Australia’s housing needs.

We need a national regulatory system that protects the interests of tenants and governments and at the same time builds investor confidence in the sector.

The paper argues that the sector’s potential will be constrained unless there are changes to institutional frameworks, improved access to capital funding and a significant shift in scale and sophistication of operations.

Housing providers need the assurance of a national regulatory system which gives them the opportunity to operate across state and territory borders and to enter into solid commercial relationships.

I encourage those with an interest in how the not-for-profit housing sector can help increase the supply of affordable rental housing to contribute to this discussion by providing a written or online submission.

Further opportunity to contribute will be available through a series of public consultations which will be held in 11 locations across Australia, starting in Sydney on May 3, 2010.

Submissions to the discussion paper close on June 4, 2010.

The Discussion Paper and information about the public consultations are available on the FaHCSIA website or by calling 1800 919 511.