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Flood funds redirected from affordable housing fund
Released 31 January 2011

Funding for Queensland’s flood recovery will impact on two Government schemes designed to increase the levels of affordable housing for low and moderate income earners.  

Under the funding plans, the number of new affordable rental dwellings to be built under the National Affordability Rental Scheme (NRAS) will be reduced from 50,000 to 35,000.

The supply of housing for low to moderate income earners will be further affected with half of the $200 million budgeted for the Building Better Regional Cities program to be redirected.

This program was established to build up to 15,000 more affordable homes in regional cities and relieve pressure on major capital cities so Australia can grow sustainably.

Residential Development Council Executive Director Caryn Kakas said: “Families on low to moderate incomes are already facing housing stress due to rising home prices and soaring rents. These programs are designed to redress this situation impacting Australians across the nation.
“The NRAS is at a crossroads, but this decision puts it one step closer to a dead end.”

Kakas said the housing and financial sectors have consistently indicated that long term certainty and a firm commitment by Government to this program was key to its future.
“These cuts raise fresh fears around the Government's commitment to it. With Australians facing high prices as a barrier to both purchasing or renting a home, initiatives such as the NRAS and Building Better Regional Cities programme are vital to ensure the housing needs of low to moderate income earners can be met.”

Kakas recognised the floods and the subsequent devastation in Queensland “are massive” and offered the Residential Development Council’s support and appreciation of the need for the Government to financially assist in the recovery.

“However, we strongly encourage the Government to be reminded in the wake of these devastating floods just how important access to affordable housing is to all Australians,” she said.