National Affordable Housing Agreement Aims

The agreement began on January 1, 2009 and has not yet been concluded. The Australian government provides states and territories with indexed funds (in 2015-16, the Australian government allocated $1.3 billion to NAHA) that they can spend to achieve housing and homelessness results. Although the new agreement has positive directions, the need for funding remains a problem. Although funding is not increased, the Commonwealth hopes that states and territories will increase their resources. The National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) aims to ensure that all Australians have access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing that contributes to social and economic participation. Another political housing agreement between the Commonwealth and the state and territory governments came into force this month. The National Housing and Homelessness Agreement is the latest in a 73-year series of such intergovernmental pacts to ensure affordable housing for citizens and to fund services for the homeless. The second and arguably the largest set of amendments is accountability. These include an expanded list of performance criteria, the Commonwealth, which adopts a standardized approach to data measurements, and a formal independent review of the agreement by the Productivity Commission, which will be implemented within four years. Compared to the most recent previous agreements, three things are emerging as new or reissued.

Under the current NPAH agreement from 2015 to 2017, the Commonwealth government will provide US$230 million over two years, accompanied by states and territories. However, states and territories have contributed more than the federal government, representing nearly $250 million per year to fund about 800 homeless services across Australia. In the first five years, NAHA provides $6.2 billion in housing assistance for low- and middle-income Australians. This agreement replaces the 2003 Commonwealth State Housing Agreement. Given the many details detailed by so many of them on the apparent lack of financial resources needed to meet the housing needs in Australia, we can unfortunately predict that the new agreement will not contribute at all to increasing the supply of social and affordable housing.