Legislative Council Tuesday 10 September 2019
Ms FORREST question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
With regard to the announcement on Sunday, 8 September effectively removing the historical housing debt loan repayments, please provide full details of the conditions of the deal with particular regard to -
(1) The impact on other Commonwealth funding?
(2) Expected and/or required amendments to the state planning laws?
(3) What homelessness services will be funded and when they will be funded?
(4) How many, where and when new houses for public and/or social housing will be built?
Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her question.
(1) The deal secured by the Hodgman majority Liberal Government to wipe Tasmania's housing debt to the Commonwealth is standalone. As such, it will be exempt from other considerations of funding such as GST.
In order to assist members, I seek leave to table the agreement signed on behalf of the Tasmanian and Australian governments.
Mr President, I seek leave to table these documents.
(2) Part of securing this very important deal was the commitment to continue delivering planning reforms that will help us meet future housing demand. Tasmania is delivering Australia's first statewide planning scheme which will make it quicker and simpler to build houses right across Tasmania. We are also releasing more land through new legislation that enables rapid rezoning of surplus government land for housing, including land parcels at Newnham, Devonport, Moonah and Rokeby, and the recently tabled order for Huntingfield, currently before parliament.
We are also examining new planning pathways for medium-density apartment-style developments in our urban areas to limit urban sprawl. These measures, along with analysis of future population growth to guide our Tasmanian planning policies, will help us provide the housing Tasmanians need where and when they need it.
(3) Now that the debt has been waived, we will work with the community and housing sectors to develop a plan to fulfil our obligations under the deal. Our priority under the agreement is to use the funds that would otherwise be used to service the debt to support programs that increase access to social housing, reduce homelessness and improve housing supply. We will also publicly report on the key actions and outcomes that have been undertaken with the additional funds.
(4) Wiping the debt will save up to $15 million annually over coming years in debt and interest payments, which will be used instead to build more social housing for Tasmanians in need. We estimate this could mean around 80 more houses for people on the social housing waiting list across Tasmania each year. These will be built in areas where the need is the greatest.