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Commonwealth-State Housing Officers' Conference

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Mr. Leslie Bury announced that Commonwealth and State

Housing Officers are conferring in Canberra this week.

Mr. Bury said that housing is one of the important

fields in which the Commonwealth and the States both have an

interest. Housing is a matter of personal concern to every

Australian, and all Australian governments have accepted a measure

of responsibility to provide homes for a number of people.

There are many ways in which the Commonwealth and the

States are contributing directly and indirectly to the

satisfaction of Australia's housing needs and to an improvement in

housing standards. One of the most significant is through the

Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement. Under this Agreement the

Commonwealth is advancing some £50 million a.year to the States

for the construction of homes for sale and rental, and for lending

by building societies and other institutions for the purchase of

privately built homes. These advances are made to the States at

an interest rate one per cent per annum below the long-term bond

rate. This permits the States to provide dwellings for purchase

and rental on very favourable terms.

This week's Officers' Conference is designed to provide

a forum for a frank exchange of ideas on possible ways of

improving the housing of Australians. It is hoped that this·

Conference will produce some helpful new suggestions for

consideration by Ministers. At least it should provide all

Housing Ministers with more information on the problems of our


The main purpose of the Conference will be to have an

up-to-date look at our housing needs, including those of families,

elderly persons and newcomers to Australia. I think there is

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general agreement that we should do all we reasonably can to

assist those wishing and able to purchase their own homes.

At the same time, we must not overlook the needs, of those who

are unable to save to own a home of their own. Above all, we

must aim to achieve the highest practicable volume and standard

of residential accommodation that Australia can afford.

I trust that the officers will have a close and

uninhibited discussion of Australia's housing problems today. '

The officers will discuss not only the desirable extent of

government assistance, but also the most efficient means by

which this assistance might be provided. The officers, will

report directly to their Ministers.

Mr. Bury said he hoped the Conference would be a

prelude to new and more fruitful co-operation between the States

and the Commonwealth in fostering the building of more an d .better

homes. · . .

27th July, 1965.