Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the new legislation will improve accountability or transparency in the use of taxpayers` money. As the NHHA is being developed, it requires little more from state and territory governments than an annual housing plan and an annual homeless plan to provide better data and reports on housing-related activities. Australia`s housing and homelessness policy is at a critical point. Housing stress has reached historic highs, there is a severe shortage of social housing and an increasing number of low-income households are being squeezed out of the private rental market. In this context, the federal government is developing a new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) that will replace existing national agreements that provide national and regional governments with funding for housing and homelessness programs. 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. Indeed, this is tacitly acknowledged – the carefully crafted performance indicators of the agreement do not contain such a measure. The bill introduces a trigger for the retention of financial resources for national and territorial governments if they do not meet criteria defined in bulk. While we advocate greater transparency and accountability, this punitive approach undermines a collaborative approach between jurisdictions and risks creating ongoing funding instability and political friction.

It also threatens the viability of front-line services and housing programs. The bill also does not provide the necessary accountability and transparency mechanisms. We believe that an independent body should be established to monitor and assess performance, to analyse data on housing supply and demand, and to strengthen the database for decision-making at all levels of government. Yet, at a time of population growth and persistent housing shortages, the Commonwealth`s recent budget promise to maintain its current AUD 1.3 billion contribution to the housing agreement means that there has been no increase in real funding. It is not enough to cover, let alone increase, the costs of current services. The overall objective of the NHHA is to improve housing opportunities for low-income people and to fund services for the homeless. It is a multilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories, which is supported by separate bilateral agreements with each jurisdiction. The National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) began on July 1, 2018 and spends about $1.5 billion a year on states and territories to improve Australians` access to safe and affordable housing across all housing. Funding for housing and homelessness is part of the 10-year National Affordable Housing Agreement and a number of partnerships since 2008 to combat homelessness – the National Partnership Agreement to Combat Homelessness. The most recent agreement presents more achievable performance indicators than their predecessors.

It also requires states to report on their annual financial contributions, a worthy step forward for transparency. Read more: We won not close the gap if the Commonwealth cuts off Indigenous housing support we support the development of a new agreement that provides the coordination, resources, and policy leadership that is needed to tackle housing unaffordability and homelessness. However, we do not believe that the current bill is the basis for this coordinated and coherent national approach. The proposed legislative framework has a number of risks and shortcomings and requires significant revision.