Private Members' Business

Home Guarantee Scheme

I'm very pleased to speak on this private members' motion tonight about the Home Guarantee Scheme. I want to say that the Albanese government understands safe and affordable housing is central to the security and dignity of all Australians. I think everyone here in this place would agree with that.

As we approach 25 past seven or thereabouts, I know that many of us have been here since seven o'clock this morning so we're just about to clock over our 12.5 hours. Many Australians work 12-hour shifts, and I know that there's no pleasure like that of being able to go home, kick off your shoes, have a hot shower and a cup of tea, and be in your own home. Whether you're renting or paying off a mortgage, there's nothing like it. But in my electorate, I have approximately 600 people currently who have been declared homeless. Those are the official statistics, but we know that there are a lot more. I just want to start by saying that in 2024 I get so distressed at the thought of Australians not having a place to call their own—not having a safe place to lay down their heads, particularly children.

I have women and children who have been given tents by some of our services—legitimately given tents to provide shelter. I have women and children who are seeking refuge in their cars, and it's just not good enough. Then we have a whole raft of people who are desperate to find rental accommodation, or to afford a home of their own. That's why I think it's so important that, as a government, we have put in place the Home Guarantee Scheme. It's why we want to take action by putting in place short-, medium- and long-term plans to tackle the challenges left behind after a decade of little action by the Liberal-National government. I can't help but think of some of the schemes that the previous government put in place. There was talk about renovating bathrooms and providing thousands upon thousands of dollars for renovations and things. That's not what people who don't have homes need; they need a home to start with.

That's why this government has committed over $25 billion in new housing investments over the next decade. That includes the single-biggest investment in social and affordable housing in more than a decade, with the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund now established. This is such an important piece of legislation. It's going to help deliver the government's commitment of 30,000 new social and affordable rental homes in the fund's first five years, with applications now open. We're working with the states and territories to help them meet their new targets as well, and we want to build upon the Housing Accord, which includes federal funding to deliver 10,000 affordable homes, to be matched by the states and territories.

That's the point of this. We know we can't do this alone. As the federal government, it's something that we must work on with the states and territories, and local government as well, because we also need land to be released for appropriate housing development. We need more infill in areas where people have got big blocks, and we know we can build more homes. We know that we've got a lot of Australians who are currently rattling around on their own in big three- and four-bedroom homes. We need to come up with some new and novel ways of solving this. I remember in years gone past people used to take in boarders. It was quite a regular thing to do. I'm not sure that that is the solution, but we need to be thinking more creatively about how we house Australians.

That's why this Home Guarantee Scheme is really good and novel, because it's going to help people—particularly people in the regions who are younger—who want to buy their first home. With the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee, we have helped over 2,047 people already in the Hunter region, excluding Newcastle. Newcastle and Lake Macquarie have had another 2,000 people assisted. Programs like this are absolutely essential. Australians must have a home to call their own, whether they're renting or buying, and this government is hell-bent on helping deliver that.

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