The contents of this page have been archived. This represents Council’s advocacy position prior to the 2022 State and Federal elections.
For updated information on any of these projects, please contact Council.
The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) provides long-term and low-cost finance and capability assistance to registered community housing providers, to support the provision of more social and affordable housing.
What is the ask?
Council requests the Australian Government continue to support the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation programs (the Bond Aggregator, and the National Housing Infrastructure Facility) that increases community housing sector capacity and creates opportunities for social and affordable housing delivery.
Further, Council requests that Australian Government:
- Investigate the introduction of a parallel complimentary tax incentive that targets private developers who provide affordable housing, similar to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit provided by the US Australian Government.
- Continue the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) that provides financial incentives to developers who provide rental housing at 20 per cent below market rents for 10 years.
What is the issue that this initiative will address?
Continued support for the Bond Aggregator will address constraints in the ability for community housing organisations to access bank finance and will reduce project financing costs. Continued support for the National Housing Infrastructure Facility will overcome barriers to the community housing sector accessing suitable and affordable land, including local government land.
Establishment of a tax incentive for private developers delivering affordable housing will incentivise the private sector to deliver affordable housing, broaden the sector’s nascent involvement in affordable housing, and reduce reliance on government funding; and the continuation of NRAS, via allocation of a new incentive round, will specifically incentivise private rental housing supply.
What is Council proposing?
Council is requesting the Federal Government to:
- Commit to continuing to support its successful NHFIC programs:
- The affordable housing Bond Aggregator to drive efficiencies and cost savings in the provision of affordable housing by Community Housing Providers, which has successfully increased the borrowing capacity of the community housing sector, by aggregating existing and proposed bank finance (sometimes at lower interest rates) to fund new community housing projects.
- The $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility tailored to financing local government to overcome barriers to providing infrastructure, such as land, access to transport, and utility services, that unlocks new affordable housing supply.
- Establish an Federal tax incentive targeting private sector delivery of affordable housing, targeted at variety of affordable housing need such as:
- Mixed private and affordable, or social housing projects, targeting very low, low or moderate-income households;
- Discrete projects, such as targeting specific target needs groups, such as key workers.
The US Australian Low-Income Housing Tax Credit was established in 1986, and made permanent in 1993 following bipartisan support, and has been the single most effective means to expand the supply of affordable housing and reduce reliance on government expenditure.
In the USA, the Low-Income Tax Credit incentive is only available when required to make affordable housing in a development viable, and allocated on project completion under strict conditions. Tax credits are packaged with other grants and incentives to achieve project viability, such as developers banks use tax credit allocation to reduce interest costs on construction loans.
The tax credits are more attractive than tax deductions, as the credits provide a dollar-for-dollar reduction in a taxpayer's income tax, whereas a tax deduction only provides a reduction in taxable income.
- Allocate a new incentive round under NRAS.
NRAS commenced in 2008 allocated funding and cash incentives under four rounds, before announcing in the 2014-15 budget it will not commence a fifth round and will cap incentives at 38,000 allocations. As the scheme concludes in 2026, the Australian Government is requested to allocate a fifth funding round and not conclude the scheme in 2026.
How does this initiative align with Council Plan and Government priorities?
The proposal aligns with the City of Port Phillip Council Plan 2021-31 - Inclusive Port Phillip - a City that is a place for all members of our community, where people feel supported and comfortable being themselves and expressing their identities:
We will advocate to the Victorian Government, community housing organisations, and the philanthropic and private development sectors to facilitate new affordable and social housing within the municipality, including the renewal of existing social housing sites to achieve the outcomes identified in our In Our Backyard Strategy.
This proposal aligns with current Australian policy which established the NHFIC. Seeking a complimentary tax incentive seeks to broaden the Australian Government’s role in affordable housing via the taxation system.
Australian Local Government Association
The Australian Local Government Association support this advocacy priority. They are advocating for support for local government’s efforts in addressing affordable housing and homelessness by providing funding of $200 million over four years to assist councils to develop and implement innovative housing partnerships. More info here: https://alga.com.au/affordable-housing-partnerships/
How does the initiative assist the community to recover from COVID-19?
- It helps take pressure off State public housing systems, and government budgets, via the Bond Aggregator and National Housing Infrastructure Facility enhancing the project delivery capacity of the community housing sector and encouraging private sector involvement in affordable housing delivery.
- A tax credit will accelerate the growing private sector interest in delivering affordable housing, as it will make affordable housing a viable investment. This includes housing key workers who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID.
- A private sector tax credit will accelerate recovery through complimenting the Bond Aggregator and National Housing Infrastructure Facility in the formation of private sector partnerships with community housing organisations for project delivery and housing management.
- Bond Aggregator, National Housing Infrastructure Facility, and proposed tax credit will create short term jobs in the construction industry and create long term jobs in housing management and the associated services sector, which will target employment sectors that have been heavily impacted by COVID.
Cost and current status?
Costs for establishing a tax credit are unknown, and will require a detailed cost analysis, influenced by factors such as target development types, credit ceilings, and incentive periods.
The Bond Aggregator and National Housing Infrastructure Facility are already established and are considered highly effective. Council seeks for an ongoing Australian commitment to fund these programs and to establish a private sector tax credit incentive for Australia.