Government Establishes Affordable Housing Taskforce

Mark Fowler
10 March 2017

The Turnbull Government today announced the establishment of the Affordable Housing Implementation Taskforce, which will develop an affordable housing bond aggregator model for consideration by the Commonwealth and the States and Territories.

The Taskforce’s stated aim is to “allow a financial intermediary to attract greater private sector investment into affordable housing. This would give community housing providers access to cheaper and longer term debt, freeing up capital for the construction of new affordable housing.”

The establishment of the Taskforce follows the recommendations of the Affordable Housing Working Group’s report (the AHWG Report) which was endorsed by treasurers at the Council on Federal Financial Relations meeting in late 2016. The bond aggregator model draws upon the experience of the United Kingdom Housing Finance Corporation, further information on which can be found here.

Our analysis of the recommendations of the AHWG Report can be found here. In addition, the Courier Mail is reporting today that “further measures, likely to be tax incentives” will be contained in the May budget.

The following persons have been appointed to the newly constituted panel:
• Mr Stephen Knight: has extensive experience in debt capital markets through his previous roles as CEO of the Treasury Corporation in New South Wales and as a previous member of the Australian Office of Financial Management advisory board;
• Ms Peta Winzar: is the current CEO of the Community Housing Industry Association, the peak body for Australia’s community housing sector and has 20 years’ experience at the senior levels of government, working across a broad range of housing issues; and
• Mr John Fraser: is the Secretary to the Treasury and will be the Government representative on the Panel. Mr Fraser has extensive experience in the financial services sector as Chairman and CEO of UBS Global Asset Management from late 2001 to 2013.

The Affordable Housing Working Group will report back by the middle of the year. Its findings will be keenly anticipated.

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