Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Australian Government to Audit Housing Assistance

The Australian Government will undertake a comprehensive audit of current Australian Government and State and Territory Government funding on public housing, Minister for Families and Community Services, Mal Brough said today.

The importance of good housing for all Australian families and communities was also today stressed by Mr Mal Brough, in his first meeting with State and Territory Housing Ministers.

"I am keen to work with state, territory and local governments along with the non-government sector to enable all Australians to receive the best value for money for our housing assistance," said Mr Brough.

"The Howard Government will be providing $4.7 billion for housing over five years (2003-2008) through the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement (CSHA) – over the same period the States and Territories are required to contribute only $1.8 billion.

"Since January 2000, the Howard Government has also provided $5.9 billion through the First Home Owners’ Grant Scheme and delivered over $2 billion a year in Rent Assistance. These are wholly funded by the Federal Government."

A recent report prepared for the Property Council of Australia found that a quarter of the money Australians pay for new homes is made up of taxes and compliance costs. According to the report, these costs vary widely from state to state, ranging up to $199,000 or 34 per cent of the price of a new house in Sydney’s North-West.

"Australians need to appreciate that these taxes and charges have an impact on housing affordability and look at housing assistance arrangements in this context," Mr Brough said.