At this weeks Labour National Conference in Adelaide, Opposition leader Bill Shorten announced a $6.6bn affordable housing plan
The plan lacks detail however sounds very much like the NRAS system created in 2009 and terminated early with final payments to early investors finishing from 2019. The NRAS scheme delivered over 36,000 houses/units with over $10billion invested. The jobs created, taxation received by Government and the boost to the Australian economy cannot be over emphasised as well as the obvious positive impact on lower income renters. Although it had its detractors from those who did not take the time to understand the financials, the NRAS scheme offered an attractive alternative investment strategy to some investors including Community groups. The scheme was however dogged by administrative inadequacies and red tape that left some investors quite rightly very unhappy.
Given the steady loss of NRAS properties from now on and the flood of properties that may hit the market, if labour wins the next election, they had better implement any proposed program immediately or see an even greater worsening in affordable housing. Shorten must also improve the management of the scheme and not leave it to the Department of Social Services alone to deliver what is a very important program for Australia.