Housing Minister Presses New Affordable Housing Category

Queensland’s Housing Minister Tim Mander will next week push for a new affordable housing category in the wake of Federal Government’s decision to axe the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

Announcing ConstructionQ on Monday – a new blueprint for Queensland’s $6 billion housing and construction industry – Mr Mander said changes had to be made to encourage construction of low cost affordable housing in Queensland.

Under the NRAS renters pay 80 per cent of the market rate on eligible properties, and people living in homes provided under Queensland’s social housing register, which is not federally funded, pay 25 per cent of their income in rent.

Mr. Mander believes there needs to be a “middle ground” when it comes to helping those eligible find affordable rental properties. He said that he would present his case to construction industry leaders at a ConstructionQ industry forum being held in Brisbane over three days next week.

The Abbott Government in Tuesday’s Federal Budget announced it would not continue with the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

Under the Rudd Government scheme – which aimed to provide 50,000 new dwellings between 2008 and 2012 and a further 50,000 since 2012 – developers were paid $8000 per unit by the Commonwealth Government to build affordable units, rather than more expensive units.

It’s described by Tim Mander as a major blow, when the NRAS was scrapped when it worked in Queensland. 30% of people in NRAS properties have come off the social housing waiting list.

Paul Bidwell, the deputy executive director of Queensland’s Master Builders said the organization was trying to work out the impact of the decision to stop the NRAS scheme.

“So if NRAS disappears, where is the source of funding for those projects?”

Mr Bidwell said Master Builders had not had contractors raising the problem with them, but he said some contractors had used it “to great advantage” to produce affordable housing.

Mr Bidwell said the Master Builders wanted building firms to look at newer housing models, newer housing structures and materials to “drive down costs”.

News Source: brisbanetimes.com.au – “Housing minister presses new affordable housing category”

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