Federal budget 2024: What was announced for housing?

Supporting Australians with cost-of-living issues is budget's top priority

Federal budget 2024: What was announced for housing?

Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers (pictured) presented his third budget on Tuesday, introducing several measures to address Australia’s cost-of-living crisis, with significant allocations aimed at benefiting the housing sector.

“Helping Australians with the cost-of-living is our government’s number one priority,” Chalmers said. “These cost‑of‑living measures have been carefully designed to take pressure off Australians doing it tough and to directly reduce inflation.”

The treasurer said the budget’s centrepiece is a tax cut for every one of the nation’s 13.6 million taxpayers. The tax cut, which will average $1,888 annually, or $36 weekly, is expected to put more money directly into the pockets of consumers.

A substantial $3.5 billion has also been allocated for energy bill relief, targeting all Australian households and one million small businesses, aiming to reduce the strain of rising energy costs.

The budget also comprised of substantial investments in housing, including an allocation of $1 billion from the National Housing Infrastructure Facility. The fund will support crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence and for youth, assisting local governments in constructing social housing and related infrastructure.

Additionally, another $1 billion will be distributed to states and territories for essential infrastructure like roads, sewers, and utilities necessary for new housing developments.

In response to the rising homelessness issue, the federal government has doubled its allotment to homelessness services under a renewed five-year agreement with states and territories.

The government has also earmarked $88.8 million to address labour shortages in the housing sector. This funding will create 20,000 fee-free places at TAFE for courses related to construction, aiming to bolster the workforce.

For renters, the budget includes a 10% increase in the maximum rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance, effective from September.

This adjustment will impact about 1 million individuals who are already receiving the maximum benefit. For a single person, the current fortnightly assistance of $188.20 will rise by approximately $19, exclusive of indexation adjustments.

This series of financial commitments for renters is expected to impose an additional burden of $1.9 billion over the next five years on the government, with ongoing annual costs of half a billion thereafter.

What are your thoughts on the housing measures announced in the new Federal budget? Comment below.