Ms SPENDER (Wentworth) (14:26):
My question is to the Prime Minister.
Thirteen House and Senate crossbenchers have called for a citizen's assembly on the housing affordability crisis. If 100 randomly selected everyday people from around the country—renters, owners, investors, people of all ages and backgrounds, rural, regional and urban—come together, consider the evidence and reach a consensus on housing reform, will the Prime Minister show them the respect of providing a formal response to their recommendations? If not, why not?
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Prime Minister) (14:26): I thank the member for Wentworth for her question. I also acknowledge her serious commitment to dealing with the challenges which are there in housing and her motivation for the suggestion that she's put forward. I've always been of the view, though, that this is the citizen's assembly here in the House of Representatives. That has been my position. That's not to say that there's not a role for people to come together in different forums and for us to acknowledge that more input, more democracy, is a good thing. I of course would acknowledge any suggestions that are put forward in the spirit in which the member for Wentworth raises it.
We know the big challenge in this country is housing supply. That's why part of the reforms we've put forward - reforms we went to the election on and have a mandate for—is the Housing Supply and Affordability Council to work with not just the Commonwealth government but state governments. I will be speaking at the Australian Council of Local Government tonight and again tomorrow about the role that local government has to play in approving supply of medium-density housing where it's appropriate; and making sure, along with state governments, that land release occurs where it's appropriate in dealing with the issue of supply.
That's why we had in the budget the initiative to encourage investment in the private rental market through the build-to-rent program that the Property Council estimates will create somewhere between 150,000 and 250,000 new homes. That's why one of the first things we did on coming to government was to unlock $575 million in funding from our National Housing Infrastructure Facility to be invested immediately in new social and affordable homes. These funds are now flowing to projects around the country. That's why we put an additional $2 billion into community housing in the budget. That's why we have the Housing Australia Future Fund before the Senate, which will create 30,000 new social and affordable homes, with 4,000 properties for women and children fleeing domestic violence. In its first five years, it will also fund $100 million for crisis and transitional housing options for women and children as well as funding for housing for veterans who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. We have all of that, and we'll have more to say about housing in coming days.