Housing Takes Center Stage at National Cabinet Meeting

Even with the dominance of Labor in the National Cabinet, the prime minister’s power has its limits. Last week, Anthony Albanese pushed for a public holiday in the event of a Matilda’s World Cup victory, but the idea didn’t make the agenda. While some premiers supported the idea, others were wary of public opinion in their electorates. State and territory leaders prioritize their own interests.

During the meeting, housing was the main topic of discussion. At all levels of government, there is a growing concern over housing. Factors such as lack of supply, increasing demand, rising construction costs, and soaring rents have created a challenging situation. However, the suggestion by the Greens to cap and freeze rents for two years was not in the interests of the states or territories.

The rejection of a rental freeze at the meeting indicates that the push from the Greens has hit a dead end. It remains to be seen whether the party will join forces with the Coalition to vote down the government’s $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund when it comes before the parliament in October.

The major development at the meeting was the focus on housing supply. The prime minister offered an additional $3.5 billion as an incentive for states to fast-track zoning and planning reforms. This financial boost aims to encourage the construction of medium and high-density housing in desired areas, reducing urban sprawl.

The leaders of the National Cabinet believe that this funding package will help deliver an additional 1.2 million new homes by mid-2029, surpassing the previous target of 1 million. However, the success of this target will depend on the extent of planning and zoning reforms and the cooperation of developers.

While the prime minister cannot dictate the specifics of planning laws, he can offer incentives to the states. This follows the allocation of $2 billion for public housing in June, indicating that Anthony Albanese is not solely relying on the Greens to pass the Housing Australia Future Fund. The details and implementation of the reforms will ultimately determine if the housing target is achieved.

Note: This is a rewritten and reformatted version of the original article.