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Notice given 29 March 2006

Senator Carr: To move—That—

(a) the Senate recognises that secure and affordable housing provides a platform for social inclusion, good mental and physical health and participation in employment, education and training; and

(b) the following matter be referred to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 29 November 2006:

An examination of the housing needs of low and middle income households across Australia, whether those needs are being met and options for improving outcomes, including:

(i) the capacity of the Commonwealth Government to influence the price and availability of housing,

(ii) the effectiveness and efficiency of existing forms of direct government rental housing assistance in alleviating housing stress and ensuring that Australians have access to affordable, secure and appropriately located housing, with particular reference to:

( a ) the effectiveness of Commonwealth rent assistance in improving affordable access to the private rental market,

( b ) the intent and effect of the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement, and

( c ) the evidence from Australia and overseas on the relative cost-effectiveness of different forms of direct housing assistance,

(iii) the potential for attracting private investment into affordable rental housing,

(iv) recent changes in the shape of the private housing market and their impact on home ownership, rental affordability and housing security, with particular reference to:

( a ) trends in the proportion of Australian households that own their home outright, those that own their home with a mortgage and those that rent,

( b ) the potential for intergenerational inequity as a result of sustained low levels of home ownership affordability,

( c ) the availability and effects of government subsidies and loan financing schemes and possible alternative approaches to government support for home ownership, and

( d ) the benefits and risks associated with new financial instruments, including shared equity and reverse mortgage products, and

(v) the specific issues faced by Indigenous households and communities.