The government has provided another $1 billion for public and community housing to secure a deal with the Greens to finally pass the Housing Australia Future Fund.
After months of stalling, the Greens agreed to pass the legislation through the Senate this week, despite the government refusing to give ground on the minor party’s demand for controls on rents.
During the battle over the fund, a core Labor promise, there were suggestions from the government that its blocking could end up in its eventual use as a double dissolution bill.
The $10 billion fund will provide an annual $500 million for social and affordable rental housing.
The government earlier this year announced $2 billion for social and affordable housing in an unsuccessful effort to secure the Greens’ backing for the legislation. It also gave a guarantee the annual amount from the fund would be at least $500 million, rather than being able to be variable.
Greens leader Adam Bandt said: “Pressure works. Labor said there was no more money for housing this year and we pushed them to find $3 billion”. He said the Greens would continue to push Labor to put an end to what he called “unlimited rent rises”.
“Renters are on the march, and the Greens will be fighting alongside them all the way,” Bandt said.
Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather said: “Renters have a national voice for the first time”.
“Greens power secured six times what Labor wanted to spend on social housing in a single year for public and community housing, and now we are going to use that power to win a freeze and cap on rent increases.”
The government used question time in parliament to spruik the coming passage of the bill, which already has the support of some of the other Senate crossbench.