Thursday, 28 June 2018
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (19:35): The Greens support the swift passage of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Bill 2018 and the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2018. As the previous speaker, Senator Doug Cameron, said, it is a step but it is a very small step. We do welcome the bond aggregator. In fact, the Greens suggested it first in 2013. Five years later, the government's moving on it, and that's an excellent thing. We know that social housing organisations are desperate to unlock investment to get on with the job of building high-quality social housing that guarantees affordability and security for tenants. That should be the basis of any fair, decent government, because housing, let's remember, is a human right. I repeat: yes, this bill is necessary and, yes, we need to get it through quickly, but it's a very small step.
We have a lot of catching up to do in the area of social housing. In this country I think the whole conglomeration of what's delivered in that area at the moment is about 4.59 per cent. It's just disgraceful. There are so many inspiring examples from across Europe, where 20 to 30 per cent of their housing mix is social housing—and it's not relegated, it's not regarded as being for losers and all the insulting terms that you hear here in this country; it's got a fine tradition behind it. That's what we need to restore, and it's again why we need to go so much further than what we have before us here. Let's remember that shocking decision of the former Abbott government to abolish the National Housing Supply Council. Certainly one of the Greens positions is supporting the re-establishment of that council. It's something that is certainly overdue.
The Greens note the second reading amendment from Labor. We're ready to support it. We'll continue to do our work in the housing sector, because bringing in more social and public housing is a way we can help ensure that everybody has a home. In any country, that should be a fundamental right; and in a rich country like Australia that's achievable.