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Is affordable housing elusive in the 'Age of Opportunity'?

The Abbott Government’s decision to scrap the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) is a disappointing step, says the nation’s green building authority.

Since it was established, NRAS has delivered 14,000 affordable homes, with a further 24,000 homes in the pipeline across the country. 

“We are disappointed to see NRAS shelved.  The Abbott Government is making a short-term decision – saving $235.2 million over three years – at the expense of long-term affordability for people on the lowest incomes,” says the Green Building Council of Australia's (GBCA’s) Chief Executive Romilly Madew.

“NRAS has been a driver of affordable housing projects across Australia, and many NRAS projects have met Green Star benchmarks for sustainable design and construction.  These projects have fundamentally changed the low-cost housing market for the better.  Affordable housing projects are now routinely integrating energy and water efficiency measures to achieve more sustainable, affordable outcomes for the people who can least afford big utility bills,” Ms Madew says.

Monash University’s Briggs Hall & Jackomos Hall, an NRAS project and the first building to achieve 5 Star Green Star – Multi Unit Residential As Built v1 certification in Australia, consumes 45 per cent less energy than similar sized buildings that don’t meet Green Star benchmarks. 

“The GBCA recognises that the provision of affordable housing is important in any sustainable community, and the Green Star – Communities rating tool rewards projects which incorporate a percentage of affordable dwelling stock under the ‘Affordability’ credit.  Scraping NRAS funding will make it harder for urban, regional and rural areas to provide affordable housing,” Ms Madew says.

“Mr Hockey has said that this ‘Budget that delivers a sustainable future for our children, and the generations beyond’.  However, a sustainable future means one that is economically, socially AND environmentally sustainable for all Australia’s citizens.

“In the ‘Age of Opportunity’, as the Treasurer calls it, we need to make sure that everyone has the opportunity for affordable, sustainable, liveable housing.  That is how we will build a stronger, more sustainable future for everyone,” Ms Madew concludes.