Good evening.

I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal people, and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.

I also acknowledge this Reconciliation Week’s theme, “Now more than ever”, which asks us to keep justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians front of mind.

I acknowledge the Property Council’s commitment over recent years to do just that: to build reconciliation into your work and use your platform to encourage others to listen and learn.

And, I want to thank you, and everyone at the Property Council for putting on tonight’s event.

Can I also acknowledge the very many of my Parliamentary colleagues here tonight.

It’s an honour to welcome you to Canberra on behalf of the Prime Minister, to talk to you about the places Australians live, work and play.

To discuss our shared challenge and responsibility to build cities, towns and suburbs that enable Australians to live the lives they choose and give more Australians a safe and stable place to call home.

The title of the Property Council’s pre-Budget submission was: “not a minute to waste”.

And you’re right — there isn’t.

Building more homes for Australians is a national challenge that demands new urgency, greater ambition – and deeper co-operation.

Co-operation across federal, state and local governments.

And co-operation between every level of government and industry.

That’s why our Government values your engagement so highly.

Not just the expertise and insight you bring – but your frontline involvement.

Because getting more housing stock out there, faster and more affordably, is what’s required.

“Less talk and more homes” is how the Prime Minister put it when he visited Launceston a few weeks ago to announce the government’s latest housing reforms as part of our Homes for Australia plan.

But he also meant something quite specific, too: a target of 1.2 million new homes to be built over five years from 1 July this year.

More homes for buyers.

More homes for renters.

And more homes for Australians in every part of the country.

It’s an ambitious plan. And it should be. We can’t settle for business as usual.

We can’t be content with thinking small.

We are backing our ambition with action.

We are having a ‘proper crack’.

And that’s what matters to our Government.

Doing what’s hard, and doing it properly.

Our Homes for Australia plan abides by that philosophy, and includes measures your industry has long called for.

As your members have pointed out investments in community infrastructure like roads, sewers, power, water and parks need to be in place for new homes to be built.

We’re clearing those local infrastructure bottlenecks, with a $1 billion boost through the Housing Support Program for the states and territories to increase housing supply.

We’re also providing greater support to train up more tradies, with 20,000 Fee Free TAFE and pre-apprenticeship places for those wanting to work in housing and construction.

And we’re asking the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to streamline skills assessments for migrants who wish to contribute their skills to the housing industry as well.

We’re also providing an additional $1.9 billion in concessional finance for community housing providers and other charities so they can help build 40,000 social and affordable homes under the Housing Australia Future Fund and the National Housing Accord.

We’ve joined with the states and territories to settle a landmark national housing agreement.

We’re building more remote housing in the NT.

And we’re putting $1 billion towards accommodation for young people, and women and children fleeing domestic violence.

We’re also building more housing for Veterans.

And we’ve committed $30 million to build housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.

Addressing rental affordability is also part of our Budget equation.

We’ll help nearly a million Australian households with the first back-to-back increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance in more than 30 years.

And we’ll work with Australia’s universities to increase the supply of student accommodation, to relieve some of the pressure on the rental market — yet another step your members have called for.

The recent Budget brought this government’s total new commitments to housing to $32 billion.

That also includes:

  • Our landmark $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, supporting the construction of 30,000 new social and affordable rental homes
  • Our $3 billion New Homes Bonus, incentivising the states and territories to build more homes
  • Our $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator
  • Our Housing Support Program
  • And our build-to-rent support.

We’re proud of these investments and the leadership role played by the Commonwealth in making them happen.

But of course, there’s always more to do.

To cut red tape and continue to make sure our planning and zoning settings encourage further growth.

My colleagues and I — led by the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Julie Collins — will keep working with you, and our state and territory counterparts, to solve these challenges and to build more houses together.

We’ll also keep listening and collaborating on the whole range of issues that matter to you.

Like making our communities better places to live.

As of last week, we have begun consulting on a National Urban Policy — the first of its kind in over a decade.

This consultation is an opportunity to capture the voices of people throughout Australia so we can make our urban environments better for all.

Our hope is that the National Policy will push decision-making towards more productive, sustainable, equitable, and resilient urban areas.

Shaping the liveable cities and suburbs Australians deserve.

In my First Speech back in 2008, I spoke of my hometown, Geelong,

of its rich history, iconic institutions, natural advantages and its potential.

As cities grow they inevitably change. A city’s identity evolves.

That’s happened to Geelong throughout its history: a rural city at the heart of the wool industry becomes an industrial city and then a lifestyle town with a University at its heart.

But all the while core elements stay the same: Geelong remains a city by the bay which loves the Cats.

But in this change in order to drive a city forward, amenity- fundamental liveability- must improve.

To achieve this, there has to be collaboration.

All levels of government working together — with the private sector, developers, and the community — to plan with confidence and to preserve the essence of our places while ensuring city economies can flourish to enable Australians to live the lives they choose.

I really want to acknowledge the contribution the Property Council has made for more than 50 years.

Your industry quite literally shapes how Australians live.

Our houses and our apartments.

Our schools and our stadiums.

Our office blocks, warehouses, factories, and universities.

All exist due to the passion and vision of your members, and those who’ve come before.

Your history is part of what gives our Government such confidence for the future.

Your record of delivery – of ambition and achievement – is at the heart of our plan to build more homes, to strengthen community and to create the opportunity for more Australians to know the dignity and security of having a roof over their head.

Thank you for having me.


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