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June 2016


CEO Talking Points

NSW Treasurer, Gladys Berejiklian MP, delivered her second budget on Tuesday.  She highlighted the strong budget position and the record amounts being put into infrastructure and services. As anticipated Family and Community Services (FACS) can point to increases in funding for the initiatives already announced in Future Directions. On top of that an additional $40M over four years will be used to help tackle youth homelessness.

Regrettably, there remains very little acknowledgement that affordable housing is critical infrastructure, and is as essential for the economy as investment in road, rail and waste water projects.  There was little concrete to offer those many households in housing stress other than a hope that releasing more land in Western Sydney will lead to sufficient additional housing supply to bring down prices. While the intention to create an economic hub around the new airport can be welcomed this is a long term project and will not address the immediate problems of housing unaffordability in the inner and middle ring Sydney suburbs.

There are opportunities even if, in the short term, tax reform options are ruled out. A commitment to using government owned land like that at Central Eveleigh  to facilitate affordable housing development and setting affordable housing targets on land where there is an uplift in value attributable to government planning decisions would be a start. And if at least a fair slice of the additional revenues from taxing foreign investors and the finalisation of the long term lease of Ausgrid and Endeavour was redirected into further phases of the Social and Affordable Housing Fund we would start to a see a difference.

Affordable housing has struggled to make headway in the Federal election beyond the pros and cons of negative gearing and its likely impact on first home buyers. Important though this is there are many households who stand little chance of buying any time soon (or ever) and need both the Federal and state government to commit to  direct government investment in affordable rental housing.  Please do VOTEHOME and send a clear message about what is needed.

The Federation’s new chairperson
John Nicolades has resigned as Chairperson of the Federation at the 10 June Board meeting following his decision to stand, and be elected as NSW region director for CHIA, at the CHIA AGM on 26 May 2016.  John has served as Chairperson since February 2014 in which time he has had a key role in managing the change in CEOs, raising the profile of the community housing industry and the Federation. The Federation will however continue to benefit from his knowledge and expertise as he will remain as a director.

At the Board meeting on 10 June, the Directors unanimously supported the nomination of John McKenna, CEO at North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) as the next Federation chairperson. John has been a Director since December 2010 and brings a wealth of experience to the role.  John is a Member of the Australasian Housing Institute and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. He is also a member of the Richmond Valley Council Affordable Housing Committee, the Northern Rivers Housing Forum Executive and the Ballina Shire Affordable Housing Working Group. John is also on the committee of the Northern Rivers Homelessness Research Project.

Before becoming the CEO at NCCH John held senior management positions in maintenance and service companies including Contract Manager for the Spotless organisation on the ACT Housing Total Facilities Management contract, which involved the ongoing planning and delivery of full facility management services to the ACT Housing portfolio.

On his election, John said that he was looking forward to his new role “It is a an exciting time to be at the helm with a raft of new initiatives coming from the NSW Government that start the process of addressing housing unaffordability across the whole of NSW. It is also good to see the community housing industry recognised as a valued partner. There remains however much more to do and I will be out there making the arguments for the resources and government support to ensure we can provide decent, safe and affordable homes for the many in housing stress”.       

Affordable Housing in the Election Strategies
Now that all three main political parties have published their election strategies we can start to see what impact they might have on the chronic undersupply of affordable housing. The Coalition set up the Affordable Housing Working Group late last year, acknowledging the need to rethink how current funding models top meet demand. Perhaps reflecting that the work of that group is unfinished, there is little in their current strategy to directly tackle the unaffordability problem. The Smart City approach (and the three city Deals already announced) focus more on measures to release more land for housing and speed up construction, anticipating that these measures will moderate house price growth.

Over at the Australian Labor party, the policies on limiting negative gearing to new property  and reducing the capital gains tax discount have now been included in ‘A National Affordable Housing Strategy. ’ The strategy will (re)establish a national framework and institutions to oversee the making and implementation of an affordable housing policy including the possible development of national rental standards. There is little detail yet but one reasonably explicit target – to aim to halve homelessness by 2025 and a commitment to agree on "national targets to increase the supply of affordable housing dwellings."

To the Greens, which has put together a series of initiatives to "end the housing affordability crisis" acknowledging "the chronic undersupply of affordable housing supply".  The plan includes removing the capital gains tax discount,  ending negative gearing for any future investments and retrofitting public and community housing with roof top solar and energy efficiency kit. Commonwealth Rental Assistance would increase by 30 percent  - another one of VOTE HOME’s five ‘demands’ and doubling federal funding for homelessness services and a long term (ten year) agreement to provide security for the sector. http://greens.org.au/housing

And if you want more the Project covered the topic well on 28 June

Sadly there is no commitment yet by any Party to put dollars into an Affordable Housing Growth  / Investment Fund  to really get things moving quickly. 

As this story from the seat of Lindsay demonstrates, the issue of housing and housing prices is one which will sway voters this election

Don’t forget this election #votehome and let's see an end to Australia's housing crisis.

2016 Affordable Housing Conference News
What would it take to create 100,000 new affordable homes in NSW? Join us for the 2016 Affordable Housing Conference on 28th & 29th of July to discuss how we can practically address the issue of housing unaffordability. Ivan Simon (Conference Chair, Dtarawarra Resource Unit) will lead discussions with key speakers including:

  • Hon Alex Hawke MP (Assistant Minister to the Treasurer)
  • Prof Suzanne Fitzpatrick (Heriot-Watt University)
  • Prof Geoff Meen (University of Reading)
  • Rob Stokes (NSW Minister for Planning)
  • Heather Nesbitt (Social Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission)
  • Clover Moore (Lord Mayor of Sydney, City of Sydney)
  • Marty Robinson (Australian Treasury)
  • Piers Williamson (The Housing Finance Corporation Limited)
  • Dr Ian Winter (AHURI)
  • Prof Julian Disney (Director Social Justice Project, UNSW)

Register now to learn about alternatives to traditional home ownership and how density can be done well by drawing on both recent research and practice examples. Also explored is what cultural competency means from an Aboriginal perspective and how we can ensure building affordable homes reduces homelessness? We will also launch the Australian financial intermediary business case and showcase how we can deliver high quality management services to everyone.

Please visit here to see all the conference highlights. It’s set to be an exciting couple of days- Early Bird pricing ends Thursday 30th June so don’t miss out!

Response to the North Coast Regional Plan
The Federation recently responded to the NSW Department of Planning & Environment’s Draft North Coast Regional Plan. By 2036, the North Coast will need to accommodate an additional 97,000 people. This growth, along with demographic change and associated household needs, is predicted to generate demand for an additional 72,200 dwellings. This increase will exacerbate housing unaffordability and impact most on lower income households. To achieve housing affordability on the North Coast, the Federation recommended that the Department takes action under the following areas:

  • Building local communities: The requirements of local residents need to be considered in the provision of adequate infrastructure. This includes creating an appropriate supply of local jobs and transport services to support nearby communities.
  • Housing needs research: The Department should conduct modelling to predict housing needs on the North Coast into the future including both social and affordable housing numbers
  • Access to land: In delivering affordable housing, there is a strong case for government to use its sizable land holdings as a catalyst for housing provision in key locations.
  • Inclusionary zoning and Affordable housing targets: Robust inclusionary zoning provisions should be incorporated into the development of the North Coast, particularly for medium to higher density residential developments in key areas, such as in residential and transport hubs.
  • Contributions: The level of contributions made by developers should be objectively determined at the beginning of the planning process for the North Coast.
  • Housing design: Review processes for local plans should ensure that a range of housing is permissible in relevant zones.

The Department’s commitment to delivering more housing for North Coast’s growing population is welcomed by the Federation. However, further action is needed to end the widening gap between affordable and unaffordable housing. We will keep you updated on the progress of the Department’s North Coast Regional Plan.

The Federation’s response is available here

Aboriginal Cultural Competency Standards Launch 14th July 2016
The Federation is pleased to announce a launch event for the new Aboriginal cultural competency standards - a self-assessment process for community housing providers.
The launch event will be an opportunity to learn about the new standards and self-assessment process in a hands-on, interactive workshop. 

The cultural competency standards are the result of a partnership between the sector, FACS, AHO and the Federation.  They are presented as a self-assessment process so providers can review their current practice and plan for improvement. The launch event is an opportunity to learn more about the standards and the self-assessment process.

The standards include examples of good and leading practice, key principles, prompt questions for each standard and a self-assessment matrix designed to promote discussion and valid self-assessment.  The standards were developed by Origin Communications in collaboration with the sector.

By attending this workshop you will gain and an in-depth understanding of the Aboriginal cultural competency standards self-assessment resource tool and it will be an opportunity to re-confirm your organisation’s commitment to the CHAP principles.

The event is free of charge for Federation members.  For further information or to register your attendance please email Adell Hyslop on adellH@communityhousing.org.au by the 8th July 2016.

Residential Tenancies Act 2010 – Statutory Review – Recommendations Published
On 23 June 2016, the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, the Hon. Victor Dominello MP, tabled a report in Parliament outlining the findings and recommendations of the statutory review of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

On the positive side, amongst the 27 recommendations are proposed changes to make it easier for domestic violence victims to either leave or end a tenancy without incurring financial penalties or being held responsible for the actions of a violent co-tenant. 

There are minor and generally uncontroversial amendments around items including pre-tenancy disclosures, condition reports, water and utility charges, repairs, alterations and electronic service of notices and signatures.

Further ‘consideration’ is recommended before a decision on whether residents in shared housing without a written tenancy agreement should have occupancy rights, and the no grounds termination provisions are unaltered although the government is recommended to ‘consider other ways of improving security of tenure in the rental market’ through facilitating the use of longer fixed term leases.

Recommendation 7 covers the abolition of payment of interest to tenants and suggests the use to which funds can be put ‘should be widened to include consumer protection more generally’. This is an area we need to know more about.

No information has been provided about the process or timescale for progressing the report.

A link to the full report

Centre for Training in Social Housing – News

New Qualifications
We are now taking enrolments for the following Qualifications
•             CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing
•             CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services

We are very pleased to now offer the Diploma of Community Services. This Qualification also has specialisation Units and to be eligible for the CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services (Social Housing) you are required to complete three social housing specialisation units.

Useful links

  • For pre-enrolment information in Diploma of Community Services click here
  • For pre-enrolment information in Cert IV in Social Housing click here
  • Enrolment form is here
  • See the new Training Schedule for July-December here

We are launching the new Qualification next Wednesday the 6th July with the following new Social Housing Unit CHCSOH010 Work with clients within the social housing system

Smart and Skilled

Enrolments are also now open for the Government Subsidised Smart and Skilled program for our new CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing qualification. This program on average covers approximately 65% of your fees.

Smart and Skilled training is available both face to face and online.

To be eligible for a mix of face to face and online training you must also be resident at one of the eligible postcodes – see our here for a list of these

If you do not reside in one of the postcodes then you are still eligible but for online training only. If a Unit of Competency is only available face to face then you may attend that Unit. Remember it is your home postcode that determines eligibility – not your organisational head office location.

For any information on any of the above areas please contact the Training Manager Kevin at KevinS@communityhousing.org.au

Supporting a sustainable Aboriginal housing sector forums
The Aboriginal housing sector is in a rapidly changing environment and the Federation is keen to support and foster its growth and long term sustainability to ensure that Aboriginal peoples’ needs and views are heard and influence the development and implementation of policy.

On the 2nd June 2016, the Federation held its first “Supporting a Sustainable Aboriginal Housing Sector” forum in Sydney for Aboriginal housing providers (ACHPs). The forum’s agenda included a discussion on the need for an interim independent peak Aboriginal housing body, provide an overview of the current government position on Aboriginal housing and the impacts and challenges it may have, a discussion on the Shelter NSW and Federation project, the National Regulatory System Community Housing (NRSCH) and transitioning and the current and future role that the Federation may have in assisting better engagement and representation of the Aboriginal housing sector.

The forum was well attended with representatives from 12 ACHPs from across the state, NSW Aboriginal Land Council and Shelter NSW. Due to its success the Federation will be hosting another forum in Dubbo on the 21 July 2016 for ACHPs in the western region of NSW.   

Australian Social Value Bank – coming this Spring
The Australian Social Value Bank will be a major step forward for organisations interested in demonstrating the impact and value of their projects.  The UK Social Value Bank is the largest bank of methodologically consistent and robust social values ever produced.

The Housing Alliance, working with economist Daniel Fujiwara, has commissioned the development of an Australian version of the UK Social Value Bank.  The “bank” provides access to financial proxies for a wide range of well-being values which can be used to conduct a basic assessment of social impact, provide evidence of value for money, and/or compare the impact of different programmes.  The Federation are partnering with the Alliance to support the roll out and implementation of the Australian Social Value Bank (ASVB).

The ASVB will be launched at the Federation’s conference and Daniel Fujiwara will be running a Key Concepts of Social Impact Measurement masterclass on 1st August. 

“Measuring the Social Impact of Community Investment: A guide to using the valuation well-being approach” is a HACT publication which explains in detail the methodology behind the value bank.

If statistical theory is your thing – “Measuring the Social Impact of Community Investment: The Methodology Paper” explains the method used to develop the financial proxies in the value bank and why they are so robust.

North Coast Community Housing opens new office in Lismore- Minister supports community housing
After 32 years of providing social and affordable housing in the Northern Rivers, North Coast Community Housing has a new home of its own.

Several Members of Parliament were on hand for the occasion and the Honourable Brad Hazzard, Minister for Family & Community Services and Minister for Social Housing, spoke to the future of community housing and its importance to vulnerable people. He praised North Coast Community Housing’s work in supporting tenants’ needs far beyond providing a roof over their heads. Programs for seniors and facilities for people with a disability are among these specialised services.

The official opening was celebrated on Tuesday 14 June at the new office on Molesworth Street in Lismore, New South Wales. The newly refurbished building provides space for more than 25 staff with additional offices operating in Tweed Heads and Grafton.
Chairman John Stone welcomes the move saying, “We now have room to expand our services as the need for housing grows in the region.”

Minister Hazzard, MPs Chris Gulaptis (Clarence) Tamara Smith (Ballina), NCCH Chairman John Stone, CEO John McKenna and MP Thomas George (Lismore)

North Coast Community Housing manages over 900 properties providing long-term accommodation to people on low to medium incomes. CEO John McKenna is enthusiastic about future projects, including a mixed tenure development of nine two-bedroom townhouses in Goonellabah.

Seminar on the Benefits of Shared Homeownership
The Shared Homeownership Working Group invites you to a seminar on the Benefits of Shared Homeownership for people on moderate incomes wanting to enter the housing market.

When: 18 July 2016
Where: NSW Business Chamber,  Level 12, 100 George Street, Parramatta NSW 2150
Time: 9.30 am to 1pm
Chair: Wendy Hayhurst, CEO NSW Federation of Housing Associations
RSVP: Olga Yoldi RDA Sydney Olga.Yoldi@rdasydney.org.au T. 9890 7804 or 0411 604 270


Rob Lane, Chairman RDA Sydney. David Borger, NSW Business Chamber.
Wendy Hayhurst CEO NSW Federation of Community Housing Associations

An overview on Shared Homeownership
Craig Johnston, Principal Policy Adviser, Shelter NSW and Emilio Ferrer, Director, Sphere Company

Extending the offering – SGCH journey towards a home ownership product
Patrick Ryan, Senior Project Manager, SGCH and a Credit Union representative (to be confirmed)

National Disability Insurance Scheme
Padmini Saxena, Director Housing, National Disability Insurance Agency

Housing affordability
Janet Chappell, NSW UrbanGrowth

Concluding remarks
Wendy Hayhurst, CEO NSW Federation of Housing Associations










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