Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Signing of the New South Wales Bilateral Agreement Made Under the 2003 Commonwealth State Housing

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced that the new five-year individual agreement under the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement (CSHA) had been signed with the New South Wales Government.

Senator Patterson said the Australian Government would provide more than $1.4 billion over the life of the Agreement (2003-08), signed with the New South Wales Minister for Housing, Carl Scully.

“The Australian Government has allocated $4.75 billion nationally for the CSHA to help some of society’s most vulnerable people get into safe, affordable public housing,” she said.

“The signing of this Agreement gives the New South Wales Government five years of financial certainty to provide housing. It is this long-term commitment that allows it to get on with the job of helping those most in need.

“I am also pleased to note this CSHA features indexation for the first time.

“The funding will assist people on low incomes in need of urgent housing, including those who are at risk of homelessness or in crisis.

Key features of the New South Wales Bilateral Agreement are:

  • to maintain a flexible and viable social housing sector;
  • to expand housing opportunities for Indigenous people;
  • to ensure housing assistance supports access to employment; including facilitating greater social and economic participation by social housing tenants; and
  • expanding the supply of affordable housing and attracting additional investment, resources and expertise from outside the social housing sector.

“The new CSHA signed by all the states and territories last year includes a new and innovative aspect that encourages states and territories to attract funding from the private and corporate sector to help with the cost of public housing.

“This not only gets State and Territory Governments to think more laterally about how they can best meet the housing needs of people, importantly it also provides more funding that can be put to good use.

“The signing of the Agreement with the New South Wales Government is another example of the Australian Government working together with State and Territory Governments to provide affordable and secure housing options and better housing opportunities for Australians in need,” Senator Patterson said.