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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2483


Mr SUKKAR (DeakinAssistant Minister to the Treasurer) (13:22): I present a supplementary explanatory memorandum to the bill. I ask for leave of the House to move government amendments (1) to (7) on sheet HV237 together.

Mr Albanese: It's unfortunate that this government can't get it right the first time, but, because we're in a generous mood, leave is granted.

Leave granted.

Mr SUKKAR: I move:

(1)   Schedule 1, item 4, page 5 (line 18), omit "for", substitute "in relation to".

(2)   Schedule 1, item 4, page 5 (line 21), omit "for", substitute "that relates to".

(3)   Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (lines 11 and 12), omit "the financial year", substitute "the period ascertained in accordance with the primary housing agreement or the supplementary housing agreement".

(4)   Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (line 16), omit "will be implemented to meet", substitute "contribute to meeting".

(5)   Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (line 21), before "make", insert "so far as is reasonably practicable to do so—".

(6)   Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (lines 24 and 25), omit "the financial year", substitute "the period ascertained in accordance with the primary housing agreement or the supplementary housing agreement".

(7)   Schedule 1, item 4, page 6 (line 34), before "make", insert "so far as is reasonably practicable to do so—".

This bill, as we know, reforms housing related payments to the states and territories by, importantly, requiring greater accountability and transparency of Commonwealth funding received by states and territories. A new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement will be created through a primary housing agreement and supplementary housing agreements, as defined by the bill. These amendments provide for certainty and clarity around the conditions for payments in relation to the primary and supplementary housing agreements.

The concerns of some stakeholders, including, most notably, the states and territories, have been listened to and responded to in these amendments. The amendments will allow states and territories to receive funding under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement provided that they are party to the agreement just for part of the financial year. The amendments also allow some administrative flexibility when there are genuine reasons that the states have not met the strict requirements for payments, such as circumstances where a website outage means that the state strategy is not publicly available. These changes complement the government's other housing affordability measures announced in the bill and just clarify some aspects of the bill. I, therefore, commend these amendments.

Question agreed to.