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Major housing policy to pass after extra $1 billion commitment



The federal government's signature housing policy will become law after the Greens announced their support for the bill following the commitment of an extra $1 billion in public and community housing spending for this year.

The $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund legislation has been stuck without sufficient support in the Senate since passing the lower house earlier this year, but the Greens' support means the bill will pass parliament this week.

The crossbench party had initially demanded the federal government work to implement rent freezes and caps in exchange for their support for the bill, but on Monday said the commitment of $3 billion – today's $1 billion in addition to $2 billion in June – in "immediate and direct" housing spending was enough to secure their backing.

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Greens leader Adam Bandt.

"Labor's HAFF still won't fix the housing crisis, but the Greens have secured $3 billion dollars for housing right now – not relying on a gamble on the stock market – and we've got to a position where it can pass the Senate," party leader Adam Bandt said.

He said the Greens will continue to pressure the government to introduce rent control.

"I say this to Labor: if you continue to ignore renters, your political pain has just begun," Bandt said.

"There are several more significant bills on the immediate horizon where the Greens will use our position in balance of power to push the government to address soaring rents with a freeze and cap on rents."

Speaking in Question Time after the Greens announced their support for the bill, Housing Minister Julie Collins said the bill will have long-lasting effects beyond the immediate spending.

"This $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund is the single biggest investment from the federal government in more than a decade in social and affordable housing in this country," she said.

"For the first time, the Commonwealth government will have a legislative mandate to finance and support social and affordable housing right across the country.

It will be there in perpetuity. Not just for this government, not just for the first five years of the fund, but there in perpetuity with returns going into higher social and affordable housing.

"This will change housing in Australia."

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