The Australian Greens have launched an innovative plan to unlock billions of dollars in new investment in social housing and to end the chronic shortage of social housing experienced by families across Australia.
Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said the Greens' Stronger Social Housing System will help 225,000 Australian singles and families currently in temporary accommodation or homeless, as they wait years for public housing.
"Our plan will not only assist nearly a quarter of a million families on waiting lists, it will also take the heat out of the rental market and help make housing more affordable for all Australians," said Senator Milne.
"The Greens care about people who are struggling desperately to keep a roof over their heads, while waiting for public and community-funded housing over periods of two and ten years - and in some cases up to 18 years."
Greens Housing Spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the Greens' plan will fund the building of 12,200 new social dwellings every year for 10 years.
"Just over half of these new homes will be funded through our ‘Safe As Houses' housing supply bonds finance mechanism. This is an innovative bonds program that will deliver a great investment opportunity while also fixing our social housing crisis," Senator Ludlam said.
"A relatively modest government investment of $25 million per year could raise $2 billion in affordable housing supply bonds - enough to finance the construction of 7,200 new homes in a year. The cumulative cost would be $145 million over the forward estimates.
"Three types of bonds will be offered to appeal to a range of investor types ranging from government and financial institutions to ‘mum and dad' investors.
"These affordable housing supply bonds address the problem for Australian not-for-profit housing organisations identified by the Productivity Commission of lack of access to private capital and the absence of financial intermediaries.
"Almost 70,000 people waiting for social housing are classified as ‘greatest need' - they are homeless, or their life, safety or health is at risk in their current housing.
"This is a matter of great urgency, so our plan sets a target of one third of new social housing to be modular housing - which is faster and cheaper to build, and also more energy efficient and fire resistant.
"Our Stronger Social Housing System plan will play a vital role in solving Australia's affordable housing crisis."