Today I am pleased to announce the key design features of the Turnbull Government's National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC). The NHFIC is a new corporate entity that was announced on Budget night and is dedicated to improving housing affordability.
The NHFIC will operate an affordable housing bond aggregator (BA) that will drive efficiencies and cost savings in the provision of affordable housing by community housing providers (CHPs). The NHFIC will also administer the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF) – a $1 billion facility that will finance housing-related infrastructure to reduce bottlenecks that impede the supply of new housing.
Since Budget, the Government has consulted widely and listened carefully to stakeholders in developing the NHFIC's design features. In September, the Government released a public consultation paper which set out some early thinking. More than 50 written submissions were received and more than 120 stakeholder groups were consulted in targeted roundtables in each capital city.
As a result of these consultations, it has been determined the NHFIC will have an independent Board with the responsibility for making all investment decisions. It will have the flexibility to tailor finance to meet the needs of recipients. The Board will be guided by an investment mandate which reflects the Government's priorities for the NHFIC.
The affordable housing bond aggregator will be open to applications from all registered CHPs to apply for finance. To provide stability and confidence, the Commonwealth will guarantee the bonds issued by NHFIC.
Eligibility for NHIF finance has been expanded beyond local governments, to entities including State, Territory, and local-government owned corporations and utility providers, and registered CHPs. This reflects the strong interest from stakeholders for the NHIF to support the expansion of multi-tenure (mixed affordable and private housing) and 'key worker' accommodation developments. The NHIF will now also be an ongoing fund, no longer terminating after 5 years. It will be free to reinvest its income to continue addressing infrastructure chokepoints on an ongoing basis.
The Government is keen to see the NHFIC hit the ground running. We are now working to have the legislation establishing the NHFIC (and its investment mandate) ready for introduction into Parliament in early 2018.
The Government thanks all stakeholders for their feedback thus far, and encourages their continued engagement throughout this process.
This announcement demonstrates the Turnbull Government's continuing commitment to ensure all Australians have access to secure, stable and affordable housing.