Question to the Minister for Housing

02 August 2023

Ms PAYNE (Canberra) (14:02): My question is to the Minister for Housing. What is the Albanese Labor government's policy to get more vulnerable Australians into housing, and what is blocking further action?

Ms COLLINS (Franklin—Minister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness and Minister for Small Business) (14:03): I want to thank the member for Canberra for her important question and for her interest in our broader housing agenda. Indeed, it's an agenda we have been working on every day.

Honourable members interjecting—

The SPEAKER: The member for Barker will cease interjecting for the remainder of this answer.

Ms COLLINS: It is an agenda we have added to at every possible opportunity, whether it be for renters, for homeowners or for Australians looking for a safe affordable place to call home. It's why we recently announced the $2 billion social housing accelerator to add to our agenda to deliver thousands more social homes across Australia. We are working hard to deliver on this because we know this action is needed. We are working hard to turn around the challenges that we inherited, as I talked about yesterday, after a decade of very little action those opposite.

Mr Sukkar interjecting—

The SPEAKER: The member for Deakin. Just pause a minute, Minister. I said at the beginning of this answer that the member would not interrupt during this answer, and he has done that, so he is now warned.

Mr Sukkar: I thought you said the member for Barker.

The SPEA KER: Yes, the member for Deakin.

Ms COLLINS: We are working hard to turn around the challenges we inherited after a decade of very little from those opposite. Indeed, we are working hard to help the people that those opposite failed. We all know the Liberals and the Nationals never supported social housing. We know that in government they were heartless when it came to the robodebt victims. I say to those opposite in the Liberal and National parties: it's time find a heart and it's time to listen to people who desperately need housing right across Australia.

It's not just robodebt, though. Those opposite have failed to take responsibility for their inaction in housing for the thousands of Australians currently waiting on public housing waiting lists. After a decade of allowing the housing challenges across the country to grow, the Liberals and the Nationals are now blocking homes for people that need them. Those opposite, together with the Greens, who they've teamed up with, are blocking tens of thousands of social and affordable homes that would be built under the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund. They're blocking homes for women and children fleeing family violence. They're blocking homes for older women at risk of homelessness. They're blocking homes for veterans at risk of homelessness. That's why we're giving them another chance. That's why we've reintroduced that bill today.

I say to them: please do not continue to block homes. Don't continue to block homes for people like Lorilee, who I spoke about on Monday in this place, who wants to go back to school. Don't block homes for people like Lisa and Sean. Sean can now have an operation because he has somewhere to go home to. That is the seriousness of what we're talking about here. We want this bill to pass. That's why we've reintroduced it. We want to build more homes. It's as simple as that. We want those opposite and the Greens to join us and the crossbench to pass this bill. We want you to join the community housing providers who want this bill passed. We want you to join the state and territory housing ministers who want this bill passed. We want you to join the experts and those on the front line of our housing challenges who want this bill passed. We heard from the MBA today that we can't afford to play politics with the lives of the many Australians who are struggling. It's time to get on with it. (Time expired)