17 February 2011
The Australian Council of Social Service today hailed the Federal Government’s decision to reverse its planned wind back of the crucial National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).
“We had described the proposed cuts as ill-considered, short-sighted, and a grave setback for tens of thousands of people who desperately need affordable housing. In contrast, today’s decision is sensible, considered, and must be applauded,” said ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie.
“This will provide a big boost in confidence to housing groups and the industry for an important program designed to increase private investment in low-rent housing at a time of growing affordable housing stress.
“We saw more evidence of the extent of this crisis in the recent Productivity Commission Report on Government Services which showed an increase in the number of adults and unaccompanied children turned away from shelters across the country.
“NRAS was only introduced three years ago and was just starting to gain momentum. Now investors can be confident that the Government is truly committed to the program.
“The scheme is working to build highly cost-effective partnerships between those investors, state and local governments and non-profit housing organisations, and help stem the tide of Australia’s rental and housing affordability crisis.
“NRAS is an essential part of the solution to relieving the affordable housing crisis in Australia so many people are experiencing, and we commend the Government for listening to the many voices who backed the program from the start, including the Australian Greens, who recently joined ACOSS and housing groups calling for a Government rethink on the cuts in Canberra.
“ACOSS continues to support NRAS as a vital social infrastructure program,” Dr Goldie said.
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