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Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Tuesday’s budget will respond to the deepening public agitation over Australia’s housing shortages by pouring new money into crisis accommodation for women and children, social housing and infrastructure.

A specially-convened national cabinet late Friday ticked off on the package, much of which is delivered through the states and territories.

It allocates $1 billion for crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence, and youth under the National Housing Infrastructure Facility.

This includes increasing the proportion of grants for this investment from $175 million to $700 million in the budget to support crisis and transitional housing.

In the debate over violence against women that has taken centre stage in recent weeks, there have been constant calls for more accommodation to enable women to leave dangerous situations.

A further $1 billion is to be provided to “get homes built sooner”. This will be money for states and territories for roads, sewers, energy, water and other community infrastructure.

The government also announced a new $9.3 billion five year national agreement, starting July 1, on social housing and homelessness.

This is for states and territories to address homelessness, provide crisis support, and build and repair social housing. It includes a doubling of Commonwealth homelessness funding to $400 million annually, matched by state and territory governments.

The government’s statement on the housing package was very short on detail, with no indication on the timing through the forward estimates of the various funding allocations. Nor did it say whether any part of the money had been repurposed.

The government also said it will work with the higher education sector on regulations requiring universities to boost their supply of student housing for local and foreign students.

It says the new budget money will build on the more than $25 billion in new housing funding it has committed to in various programs over the next decade.

It has a goal of building 1.2 million homes by the end of the decade.

But demand continues to run far ahead of supply, with high migration intakes – which the government is cutting – and shortages of labour and materials adding to the problem.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the housing issue “isn’t about one suburb or one city nor one state. It’s a challenge facing Australians everywhere and it needs action from every level of government”.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government was delivering billions more dollars in the budget to build more houses “because we know that to address this housing challenge, we need to boost supply”.

The Conversation

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

ref. Budget to pledge billions more in funds and fresh effort to tackle intractable housing crisis –