Precious little progress on COAG affordable housing agreement

Labor continues to move at a snail’s pace on housing affordability, with the COAG Reform Council unable to demonstrate genuine progress on the four national partnerships that underpin the National Affordable Housing Agreement: Performance report for 2009-10, said Shadow Minister for Housing, Senator Marise Payne.

Senator Payne said that under Labor, the council could not provide a comprehensive report of progress under the National Partnerships on Social Housing, Remote Indigenous Housing, Homelessness and the Nation Building and Jobs Plan, “primarily due to limitations in available and comparable performance information”.

“Housing supply and affordability is just another area where Labor is dragging the chain on important reforms,” Senator Payne said.

Senator Payne said it was also astounding to learn that one of the council’s priorities for improving the performance reporting framework of the agreement had still not been developed after 18 months:

The agreement provides that governments will develop performance indicators for the outcome that people have access to housing through an efficient and responsive housing market. No such indicator has been developed in the eighteen months since the agreement was finalised. The council therefore reaffirms its previous recommendation that the indicator (or indicators) be developed. (Page xiv, Executive Summary)

“This is just not good enough. We currently have a housing shortage of 202,400 as of June 2010 and rents rising well above inflation at 4.5 per cent in the year to March 2011 so there simply isn’t time to waste in developing a response,” Senator Payne said.

Senator Payne said although it was encouraging to see some progress in capital works programs like new Social Housing dwellings, Remote Indigenous Housing and the building of homes for people facing homelessness, there was no overarching strategy, reflecting what a low priority housing has become for Labor.