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Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Page: 10997


Mr CHESTER (GippslandMinister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and Deputy Leader of the House) (18:08): In summing up, firstly I would like to thank those members who have contributed to this debate, most noteworthy being the member for Mackellar, who spoke just a few moments ago.

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Amendment Bill 2018 implements amendments to the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Act 2018 that strengthen and improve the recently established National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation. The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation is a new corporate entity dedicated to improving housing outcomes for Australians. It operates a $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility and an Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator. The infrastructure facility will provide local governments, registered community housing providers and other eligible applicants with finance for infrastructure that will unlock new housing supply, while the Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator aims to provide cheaper and longer term finance for registered community housing providers.

This bill makes explicit that the board of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation must collectively have an appropriate balance of qualifications, skills and experience in a relevant field of banking and finance, law, housing, infrastructure planning and financing, local government and public policy, and that at least one board member must have appropriate qualifications, skills or experience in social or affordable housing.

The bill also provides for the statutory review of the operation of the NHFIC Act to occur after the period of two years from the commencement of the act, rather than three. The bill provides for the creation of a special account for the purposes of the $1 billion line of credit appropriated to the Department of the Treasury for the bond aggregator function of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation. Upon the commencement of the bill, the $150 million already appropriated to the Commonwealth for the purpose of the AHBA is credited to the special account. The bill also appropriates the remaining $850 million of the $1 billion line of credit, which is to be credited to the special account over four years from the commencement of the bill.

These amendments bring forward planned annual appropriations for the purpose of the Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator and allow the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to redraw amounts repaid to the Commonwealth. The amendments ensure that the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation is better placed to respond to demand from community housing providers. The amendments also provide certainty over the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation's available finance in future years so it can commit to potential own transactions. The amendments fulfil the original intent for the line of credit to be ongoing, by providing for the $1 billion to be reused and by avoiding the lapsing of any undrawn funds at three years after appropriation.

This bill will help secure and improve the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, a new independent corporate government entity, which will improve housing outcomes for Australians, particularly vulnerable Australians who need social and affordable housing. I commend this bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.