Crossbench senators urge government to expand public housing funds

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CANBERRA (London Post with AAP and ABC News) By Dr.Majid khan -The federal government is yet to secure enough support for its proposed multi-billion-dollar housing fund, with the crossbench arguing the plan does not go far enough to help Australians struggling to keep a roof over their head.

The fund would spend $500 million a year building new social houses and repairing existing ones
A number of crossbenchers say the figure does not go far enough to help those in need now, let alone in the future.

The government needs the support of two crossbenchers and the Greens to pass the legislation
Independent senators Jacqui Lambie and David Pocock, along with the Greens, are seeking changes to the Housing Australia Future Fund.

Under the $10 billion proposal, up to $500 million a year would be used to fund the construction of new homes, as well as repair and improve housing for Indigenous communities.

In its first five years, the government expects the fund to pay for the construction of 20,000 social housing properties.

Of those, 4,000 would be allocated to women and children impacted by domestic violence as well as older women at risk of homelessness.

Another 10,000 affordable homes for frontline workers would be built to ensure they could live closer to where they work.

He pointed to figures that showed the ACT social housing waitlist had passed 3,000 across the territory and under the housing fund only 540 new homes would be built in the first five years

“Given the scale of need for social and affordable housing across the country, $500 million a year is not going to cut it,” he said.

“What I’m saying to the government, and what a number of crossbenchers are saying, is this is a good start, we like the idea, but let’s get more ambitious.”

He said negotiations with the government had not been very productive.

“We will continue to we continue to talk to them,” Senator Pocock said. “So far it hasn’t been that positive, but I really hope that changes.

“There are a lot of people all over the country who are going through a hard time. You see frontline workers living in trailer parks.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he did not understand why he would vote against the bill ahead of Tuesday’s Labor caucuses.

The coalition has refused to support the bill, so the government needs two crossbenches and the support of the Greens to pass it. Like Senator Pocock, Senator Lambie wants a change of plans.

The bill is due in the Senate for two weeks, and the government hopes he will pass it before the May budget.