Sarah Henderson is the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services
The Morrison Government has an unwavering commitment to improving housing and homelessness outcomes for all Australians.
REDUCING PRESSURE ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
The Government has announced a comprehensive housing affordability plan as part of the 2017-18 Budget. The plan will improve housing outcomes for Australians across the housing spectrum by unlocking supply, creating the right incentives and improving outcomes for those most in need.
This plan includes:
- Providing $1.5 billion annually through the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) to states and territories;
- A $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility to help unlock new housing supply including social housing;
- The First Home Super Saver Scheme to help Australians buy their first home (estimated cost of $250 million for 2017-21);
- Increasing the Capital Gains Tax discount to 60 per cent for affordable housing investors (estimated cost of $15 million for 2017-21);
- A $6 million investment to support the Homes for Homes initiative, which aims to raise funds for social and affordable housing; and
The Government is also committed to implementing a rent deduction scheme for social housing welfare recipients. The Automatic Rent Deduction Scheme will help tenants remain in their homes, reduce their risk of eviction due to arrears and secure social housing providers’ incomes.
In 2018-19, it is estimated that the Government will pay around $4.5 billion as part of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) to help more than 1.3 million Australians to meet their rental costs. The Australian Government’s expenditure on CRA has doubled since 2006-07.
Labor’s Housing Tax: Labor is proposing a double hit on housing that would affect all Australians. Their plan includes ending negative gearing for existing properties and increasing capital gains tax. Experts predict Labor’s tax grabs could cost thousands of jobs and lead to billions less building activity.
IMPROVED MEASURES TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS
The Australian Government recognises that homelessness is an important issue which affects many Australians. Effectively addressing homelessness requires long-term and systematic effort across governments and the community.
As part of the NHHA, announced in the 2017-18 Federal Budget, the Victorian Government will receive $1.86 billion in housing and homelessness funding over the next five years from the Commonwealth Government.
Federally, the Morrison Government, under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, is this year providing the Victorian Government with $395 million to spend flexibly on housing and homelessness services as it sees fit. This is a $21 million increase on last year’s contribution. In addition, in 2016-17, $983.3 million was paid to Victorian recipients of Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
The NHHA aims to improve housing and homelessness outcomes for Australians across the housing spectrum, particularly those most in need. Public housing and homelessness services will be a focus of the NHHA.
The Government is working to prevent youth homelessness by linking at-risk young Australians with essential services. From 1 July 2018, the Government has committed up to $117 million over five years to 103 Reconnect services. One such service is Reconnect, a community based early intervention and prevention program for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH THE NDIS
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is one of the most important social reforms in Australian history. For the first time, people with disability are being given choice and control and the voices of people with disability and their carers are being heard. People with disability now have a greater opportunity to be part of the debate, conversation and policy-making for a more inclusive Australia.
At full-scheme, it is estimated 460,000 Australians with disability will receive the supports they need at a total cost of $22 billion per year.
The Liberal-National Government has fully budgeted for the NDIS and is delivering the game-changing scheme across the Australia.
From 1 January 2019, all eligible Victorians now have access to the NDIS. The Barwon region, as one of the first NDIS trial sites, led the way for the scheme, with many participants in my electorate first accessing the NDIS from July 2013.
The NDIS is now supporting 208,793 Australians, with almost one-in-three people receiving support for the very first time. More than 6,656 children are being supported through the Scheme’s Early Childhood Early Intervention approach.
As at 30 September 2018, there were 17,925 registered providers.
HELPING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY FIND JOBS
Participation in the labour force of people with disability has remained steady over the past 20 years – around 53%, compared to 83% for the rest of the population. Our government is committed to improving these statistics, primarily through greater funding for Disability Employment Services (DES). DES is a program that helps people with disability, injury or health condition to prepare for, find and keep a job.
Backed by a $3 billion investment over the next four years, we are implementing a plan to improve Disability Employment Services, by:
- more choice and control for participants;
- greater competition between DES providers;
- improving incentives to ensure providers help those with the greater difficulty; and
- indexing DES payments to providers.
DES is currently supporting more than 200,000 people with disability to find and keep a job.
INCLUSION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY
Delivering the NDIS and helping people with disability find jobs are part of the Liberal-National Government’s commitment to improve the lives of Australia’s 4.3 million people with disability through the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020.
The Liberal-National Government continues to deliver important programs and services to people with disability to support inclusion, including through consultation and independent advocacy services funding. I am proud to co-chair one of the Government’s consultation mechanisms, the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council.
In 2017-18, more than $16 billion was provided to individuals with permanent physical, intellectual and/or psychiatric impairments that prevent them from engaging in work through the Disability Support Pension.
The Government promotes International Day of People With Disability on 3 December each year.
BETTER SUPPORT FOR CARERS
Around 2.7 million Australians care for someone who needs extra helpdue to disability, age, mental illness, or long-term physical illness. In 2017-18, $169 million was spent by the Liberal and Nationals Government on delivering carer support services.
The Government currently allocates over $8 billion a year in carer payments, allowances and supplements, providing financial relief for carers.
$85.6 million will fund supports for carers through the new Integrated Carer Support Service model. From October 2018, these new services focus on early intervention supports and services to improve carers’ long-term outcomes and wellbeing. The new model will provide over 300,000 instances of support compared to 130,000 currently provided.
Emergency Respite Care will continue to be delivered under the new model and will support carers experiencing an urgent, imminent and unplanned event.