Tasmania housing debt waived by Commonwealth

Hundreds of new housing projects will need building in Tasmania, following the federal government’s decision to wipe the state’s housing debt.

Designed to relieve chronic housing undersupply and homelessness, which have been problems in the state for a long time. The decision will also create more opportunities for new commercial residential developments.


Tasmania’s outstanding loans to the Commonwealth of $157.6 million will be waived, which will save it $230.2 million in total interest and principal repayments to 2041‑42.

But it is conditional that all repayments are redirected to programs that explicitly increase access to social housing, reduce homelessness and improve housing supply across Tasmania.

Housing Minister Roger Jaensch said the decision to have the debt effectively waived would result in around 80 more houses being built for people on the social housing waiting list across Tasmania, each year.

“This is a marvellous result for all Tasmanians and will enable us to build more homes in addition to our Affordable Housing Strategy, underpinned by an investment of almost $200 million over eight years, the largest ever State Government investment into affordable housing in Tasmania’s history.” he said.

Federal Housing Minister Michael Sukkar said the state and federal governments had worked “hand in hand” to reach the agreement and gained key support from Independent Senator Jacquie Lambie.

“Waiving this loan will support the Tasmanian Government’s efforts to reduce homelessness, increase access to social housing and improve housing supply across the state,” he said.

The Tasmanian Government has also said it will pursue local government planning and zoning reforms to support housing supply, in line with a growing future population and economic growth will demand yet more housing constructed.

Real Estate Institute of Tasmania president Tony Collidge publicly welcomed the announcement but says more resources are needed to fully address the affordability and access issues, and also warned that competition would drive up the price of construction and tradies, who are already in high demand in the state’s booming commercial sector.

Since the announcement was made, other states, in particular Western Australia the Northern Territory, have lined up to ask to have their debts waived, the Financial Review reports.

Images courtesy of the examiner (Michael Sukkar left and Roger Jaensch right)

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