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Housing and Homelessness Agreement Review

Terms of reference

I, Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer, pursuant to Parts 2 and 4 of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, hereby request that the Productivity Commission undertake a review into the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA).

Background

The NHHA is an agreement between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments (the states) relating to the provision of housing and homelessness services. While the states are primarily responsible for housing and homelessness services, the NHHA recognises the Commonwealth’s and the states' joint responsibility to improve housing outcomes across the housing spectrum, including outcomes for Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The NHHA is the primary vehicle for the provision of Commonwealth funding to help support the states in the delivery of housing and homelessness services and programs, and the improvement of associated outcomes.

The NHHA sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Commonwealth and the states, and identifies nationally agreed objectives and outcomes to measure performance against these objectives.

The NHHA’s objectives are to contribute to improving access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing across the housing spectrum, including to prevent and address homelessness, and to support social and economic participation.

Scope of the review

The intent of this review is to consider:

  • the effectiveness and appropriateness of the objectives, outcomes and outputs of the NHHA [clauses 14-21] in the context of the respective roles in clauses 23-30, of the Commonwealth, the states and their interaction with local governments, noting they are not parties to the agreement, and operate under state regulations
  • the extent to which the NHHA is meeting its objectives [clause 14] to improve access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing, prevent and address homelessness and support social and economic participation
  • evidence of the NHHA contributing to achieving the NHHA outcomes [clause 15] and options to improve progress towards meeting these outcomes
  • the adequacy and quality of the data and information reported under the NHHA to provide transparency and accountability in respect of housing and homelessness spending [clause 15(f)] and identify options to improve the adequacy and quality and timeliness of data reported under the NHHA
  • the effectiveness of the performance monitoring and reporting framework of the NHHA [clauses 36-41] for measuring the outcomes achieved and ensuring transparency and accountability
  • options to maximise the outcomes that can be achieved with the NHHA funding
  • the suitability of the housing priority policy areas [NHHA Schedule A], national homelessness priority cohorts [clause B2], and homelessness priority policy areas [clause B4] identified by the NHHA, and the extent they have been addressed
  • the effectiveness of the NHHA data improvement outputs [clause 17(d), and NHHA Schedule C] for achieving an improved, nationally consistent data set
  • determine if the conditions to be eligible for funding under the NHHA [clause 17] are sufficient to achieve NHHA outcomes
  • the extent to which the NHHA is meeting the obligations of governments under Australia’s Disability Strategy.

In undertaking this review, the Commission should have regard to:

  • the respective roles of the Commonwealth and states with respect to housing and homelessness policy
  • the impact of social and economic factors, including the coronavirus pandemic on housing and homelessness in Australia
  • the individual housing and homelessness strategies and priorities of each of the states, and
  • the individual bilateral schedules between each of the states and the Commonwealth.

Process

The Commission is to consult broadly, including with recipients of housing and homelessness services, housing and homelessness service providers, the states, other stakeholders, and the Commonwealth.

The Commission is to undertake an appropriate public consultation process including inviting public submissions, and provide its report before 30 June 2022.

The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP
Treasurer

[Received 13 December 2021]