Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin is urging local councils and private companies to apply for grants under the Federal Government’s $512 million Housing Affordability Fund.

Applications are now open for the half billion dollar fund, which will reduce the cost charged by developers for new homes around the country.

The Housing Affordability Fund invests $512 million over five years to reduce some of the planning red tape and infrastructure costs paid by developers.

The Rudd Government has allocated $30 million of the fund to fast-track the national roll-out of an electronic assessment system (eDA) to improve planning efficiency. 

The fund will also help with upfront costs like developer charges for sewerage, roads, cycle-ways and parks.

Ms Saffin said successful applicants will be required to sell new houses at a lower price to home buyers, in recognition of the assistance given by the Federal Government, and the grants are expected to lead to savings of up to $10,000 per new home.

“Under the Coalition government, the cost of housing rose so far as to be out of reach for many families,” she said.
 
“In 2001 it took 3.6 times the average income to buy a median-priced house in Lismore or Grafton. By 2006 families needed 6.6 times the average income.

“We need to keep up with the housing demands of our growing local population and help reduce the costs of owning a home.”

Housing Affordability Grants will be targeted towards areas with high demand for new entry-level housing, and will only be given to applicants who can ensure the full value of the saving is passed on to home buyers.

The Housing Affordability Fund is a critical part of the Government’s housing strategy which also includes:

A $623 million National Rental Affordability Scheme to encourage the building of up to 50,000  new rental properties.

A $150 million Place to Call Home initiative to build hundreds of homes for the homeless across Australia

A $1.2 billion investment in First Home Saver Accounts to help first home buyers save for a deposit.

Further information about the Housing Affordability Fund is available at
http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/housing/haf.htm