20 C
Byron Shire
September 27, 2023

Editorial: It’s a social housing party!

Latest News

Start saving water now say Tweed Council – water restrictions may be weeks away

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has declared an El Nino weather pattern, with less-than-average rainfall forecast for the Northern Rivers this year. Tweed Council is reminding residents and visitors that it is important to save water.

Other News

Labor’s budget falls short on flood funding: MP

Tamara Smith, Member for Ballina and NSW Greens Disaster Relief Spokesperson, has welcomed an additional $150m in funding for the Northern Rivers and Central West flood recovery in Tuesday’s NSW budget.

Liberal councillors walk out during Tweed mayoral election

Yesterday Liberal councillors James Owen and Rhiannon Brinsmead walked out of the extraordinary Tweed Shire Council meeting in protest against the way the Mayor of Tweed Shire is elected. 

No more Hottentot

I have received a petition from Change.org to change the name of Hottentot Crescent, Mullumbimby to another South African...

Bicycle racing at Lismore attracts over 100 riders

Byron Bay Cycling Club’s (BBCC) inaugural closed road race through and around Lismore has been deemed a ‘success’ attracting...

The Murdoch empire – out of the pot and into the other pot

The biggest news in ‘news’ today is that the biggest news content creator will see its leader stand down after more than 70 years – it is expected that Lachlan Murdoch will step into his father’s shoes as head of the Murdoch media behemoth from November.

Misanthropic disGrace

Hannah Grace’s recent letter ‘Benefits of microplastic’ might be considered a sick joke, but over the years misanthropy has...

After six months of bickering, federal political parties of similar stripes – Labor and Greens – came together and said ‘Yes’ to a $10b social/affordable housing package. 

It’s called Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF), and will be set up as a managed fund, tied to the stock exchange, to address the chronic shortfall of social housing that was created after decades of government neglect. 

This was a test of the Greens’ ability to negotiate – their ability to strike a deal has been under the spotlight since they rejected a carbon pricing scheme in 2009. 

After a six month wait, an extra $3b appeared on the table, yet comes without a rent freeze.

Providing social housing was once a business of governments, and thankfully Labor recognise it should be again.  

Will it ease the national housing crisis? 

Maybe, but how much is not known, because there isn’t much detail of what will be delivered after 30,000 homes are built in the first five years. 

And it’s a program spread out across the nation, and comes without any guarantee it will be directed to rural, regional and remote areas. 

Hopefully, a bill before parliament by Independent Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines, will address this.

Independent journalist, Michael West, challenges the fund’s ability to deliver, claiming the maths doesn’t add up. 

Even if he’s wrong, the immediate crisis is not going to be solved anytime soon. 

And the housing crisis is also tied to a lack of labour and rising material costs. 

So in the face of all that, it seems premature to break out the bubbly and don the party hats.

A smart nation would probably accelerate and invest in what is still in the pioneering stages – 3D home building. 

Other ways to speed up the process could include providing financial incentives to encourage investment in social housing. 

Another would be to develop a national housing policy. 

The NSW government definition of ‘affordable housing’ is not fit for purpose, for example, and could be addressed at a national level. 

Those who face homelessness need to have a say at that table too.

It’s a tough sell

Convincing the political elite of any meaningful change is a tough sell. 

They benefit enormously from unfair tax breaks and concessions which keep low income earners out of the housing market. 

And with the help of mainstream media, the wealthy, landed class say that increasing housing supply is the main solution in addressing the problem. 

Yet it’s social housing at stake here, not more holiday homes.

Political solutions often masquerade as a solution to the disease it created – so fingers crossed the people with a portfolio of negatively geared homes and fat bank accounts will make the best decisions in the interests of those who don’t. 

Hans Lovejoy, editor

News tips are welcome: [email protected]

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Some balance here Hans – congratulations where it’s due.

    I agree that “convincing the political elite of any meaningful change is a tough sell” but note that in the lead-up to the 2019 election, Labor included changes to negative gearing and CGT in their campaign. While there’s never any one factor in an election outcome, what happened has made the sell tougher. Maybe it’s only the Tories who have any chance of success but don’t hold your breath.

    Perhaps it’s this rather than the property portfolios of politicians – of all stripes – that needs to be dealt with.

  2. Lets be clear, this headline number of a whopping $’s10billions is an ALP PR stunt.
    The HAFF is only spending – if it makes any money on the stock market – $’s500millions pa, that’s the reality of the HAFF nonsense.

    The Federal Budget is always there to fund expenditure.
    Indeed, PM “everything is impossible until its not” Albo has from the Federal Budget found a total of $’s6.5billions June – September 2023 for housing – thank you State and Federal Greens for getting that done!!!!

    So, as PM Albo has shown us all, there is zero need for the PR stunt that is this HAFF nonsense.

    • Joachim old son, lets be quite clear here, the sleazy Greens seized on a popular public issue and milked it for all it was worth, then under the threat of a double dissolution election were forced into a humiliating back down by Albo, no amount of spinning by you or your handlers over at Greens HQ are going to convince anyone anything different, facts my man are certainly not your strong point, you Greens seem to revel in a world of fantasy, but it does take a REAL Govt to make the hard decisions.

      • Keith, this is a hilarious scribble.
        Facts, Numbers, have never been your strong suit, so now you trying your hand at comedy.
        And Keith, what an excellent piece of comedy you have provided.

        Those dopes at ALP HQ, feeding you lines for you to regurge, have for too long made you look like a clueless clown.
        Keith, keep it going, be yourself, and not some hapless stooge of ALP HQ.

        • Joachim old son, “those dopes over at ALP HQ” are actually in Govt, making grown up decisions my man, obviously something the ratbag Greens know nothing about; remember a MAJORITY of Aussies voted them in. You really should get onto those reality pills old son.

          • Keith, dear oh dear, just when I thought you were improving, you go and do it to yourself again.
            Keith, Keith, Keith, your ‘Numbers’ problem again – “remember a MAJORITY of Aussies voted them in.”, Keith , do please tell us more, how a 32.58% primary vote is a MAJORITY of Aussies.

    • If it’s nonsense PR stunt, why did the Greens initially want 50% more thus invested? If it’s nonsense PR stunt why have they agreed to pass it? Do they have no principles?

      I’m not sure where your $6.5b figure comes from but whatever it is, isn’t it a time to celebrate what might be achieved by some cooperation between progressive parties rather than sledging and one-upmanship?

      • Lizardbreath, I see that you’ve copied your comment straight across from a previous Echo article: ” Agreement struck on social/affordable housing fund”, By Hans Lovejoy September 13, 2023
        On that same article I listed where that $’s6.5billions worth figure you query came from.
        Looks like I need to complete your copying session for you to catchup on affairs-

        “Here is the list of those $’s6.5billions worth of addons;
        – 17/6/23, PM Albo announces $’s2 billions Social Housing Accelerator for state and territory work on social and affordable homes
        – 16/8/23, PM Albo announces $’s3billions incentives / performance based bonuses to encourage the states to accelerate land release, planning and approvals processes to build “well-located” homes.
        – 16/8/23 , PM Albo announces $’s500millions housing support program to fast-track the construction of amenities and services to support new developments
        – 11/9/23, PM Albo announces an extra $’s1 billions for public and community housing, which is ontop of $’s2billions Social Housing Accelerator announced on 17/6/23”

        Lizardbreath, as to why you are so clueless about the Greens agreeing to the HAFF is the great mystery.
        It is all on the public record, do try harder, try starting with ABC News – “Housing Australia Future Fund set to pass parliament after deal with Greens By political reporter Georgia Roberts Posted Mon 11 Sep 2023 at 2:03pmMonday 11 Sep 2023 at 2:03pm, updated Mon 11 Sep 2023 at 10:59pm”.

        • “Clueless”‼️- what a little sweet cheeks you are! But then I’ve been told that you Greens are the kind, caring, high-minded, warm, fuzzy types.

          Where to begin! I don’t think you can count the 16/08 stuff because that wasn’t a direct handover it was in promised performance-based bonuses. Not even the hubristic duo of Adam and Max have claimed any more than $3 billion extra.

          But look, as I said, every bit is a cause for celebration – no? It’s certainly good to have a government that’s committed to tackling housing needs.

          Despite your insistence that it’s all due to the brilliant policy creativity of the Greens (who can’t come up with the idea to just throw money at everything?), you might be interested in Phil Coorey reporting in the Fin Review March 27: “Mr Albanese said the Greens needed to realise the HAFF would be in addition to a raft of existing policies designed to increase the supply of affordable housing.

          “Some of the rhetoric about the Housing Australia Future Fund seems to think that this is in place of everything else, including the Commonwealth-state housing agreements … it’s not. It’s additional.”

          Look at that date again Joachim – MARCH!

          If the other measures, as foretold, we’re coming anyway it’s such a shame that all those people escaping domestic violence etc. have been kept waiting for housing and that all those shovel ready construction projects and jobs have been put on hold for so long That the returns on the $10bil trust fund have gone begging.

          And what you have given me here Joachim, is the details of an announcement. If you think that represents an answer to the questions I asked you, I wouldn’t be too ready to call other people clueless.

        • There seem to be a few interesting standards applied on these pages. We have Joachim who is ready to express outrage at naughty swear words but thinks that personal insults (eg clueless, fanboys) are not at all offensive.

          I find myself quite regularly censored for the mildest commentary while this contributor, presumably because so single-mindedly Green has carte blanche.

          • Lizardbreath, you put up ‘questions’ which were just a ploy as part of your takedown of the Greens, ‘questions’ for which the information / answers were already available on the public record, that you could easily have dialled up yourself.
            I tried to help you but you still you don’t want to know about it. You don’t want to help yourself, good for you, just don’t pretend to be innocent.

          • Did you miss it, the previously supplied article –

            ABC News – “Housing Australia Future Fund set to pass parliament after deal with Greens By political reporter Georgia Roberts Posted Mon 11 Sep 2023 at 2:03pmMonday 11 Sep 2023 at 2:03pm, updated Mon 11 Sep 2023 at 10:59pm”.

            Try reading it, the answer / information is there.

          • Read it through Joachim, and sorry, I can’t find anything that explains why the Greens would vote for a bill that spends $10b on a PR stunt and gambling.

            I must truly be “clueless” so you’re going to have to explain it to me in your own language.

            Thanks for the reference though – it contained all sorts of things I’m confused about eg: “Labor had the opportunity to freeze and cap rent increases through national cabinet and they refused …”

            So while you’re at it, could you explain to me how the federal government could give themselves this power (did they slip in another referendum while we were distracted by 0ct one?). Sneaky devils!

            I’ll need it to be simple so please – no more sending me off to other material.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

BES rejects Ramsey’s proposal to leave conservation zones to private landholders

Ballina Environment Society (BES) has come out strongly against conservative independent Ballina Councillor Eva Ramsey’s proposal to have private property owners ‘opt in’ to conservation zones.

Review on remote Indigenous Australians sheds light on the Voice to Parliament

As a white man living on Bundjalung Country, I acknowledge that it is not easy to make the cross-cultural shift from a Western paradigm lens to comprehend and appreciate the rich diversity and complexity of 65,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ sociocultural and spiritual history.

What is the future for Lismore Regional Gallery and Museum? Have your say

The Lismore Regional Gallery and the Lismore Museum (Richmond River Historical Society) want to hear from you. If you are an artist, creative, arts...

Pearces Creek Bridge to be replaced – road closure

The replacement of Pearces Creek Bridge has led to the temporary closure of Eltham Road, at Pearces Creek Bridge for one month from Monday, 23 October.