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Review of the National Regulatory System for Community Housing

Key Documents

Terms of Reference for the Review 

Media Release – Announcement of the Review.

Expert Panel –  Expressions of interest have closed.

Discussion Paper - Submissions close 5 April 2019.

Following the 2017-18 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the Commonwealth and state and territory governments established a National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) Working Group to review the NRSCH (the Review).

Terms of Reference for the Review are available online

Background

In 2012, the Commonwealth and all states and territories except Victoria and Western Australia signed an Inter-Government Agreement (IGA) to establish the NRSCH. In August 2012, the National Law establishing the NRSCH passed through the NSW Parliament and the regulatory system commenced on 1 January 2014.

The NRSCH is the system of community housing regulation in each state and territory, except Victoria and Western Australia, who maintain separate systems. The purpose of the NRSCH is to ensure a well governed, well managed and viable community housing sector that meets the housing needs of tenants and provides assurance for government and investors.

Further information about the NRSCH is available from the NRSCH website.

Overview of the Review

The Review is being conducted in three stages by a Working Group co-chaired by FACS and the Commonwealth Department of Social Services. The first stage is to examine the operation of the NRSCH, the second will canvass reform options, and the third will develop recommendations for Housing Ministers. More information about the process of the Review is shown in the following table.

The Working Group also includes representatives from the Victorian, Western Australian, Queensland, South Australian and the Australian Capital Territory governments.

Stage 1, August 2018 - December 2018

  • Develop   a Discussion Paper summarising the current design and operation of the NRSCH,   and examining the key differences and impact of separate regulatory systems   in Victoria and Western Australia.
  • Discussion   Paper publicly released.

Stage 2, January 2019 - July 2019

  • Develop an Options Paper outlining potential NRSCH   reforms, informed by public submissions and consultation from the first   stage.
  • Options Paper publicly released.

Stage 3, August 2019 - November 2019

  • Produce   a Final Report detailing reform recommendations, informed by public   submissions and consultation from the second stage.
  • Final   Report presented to Housing Ministers.

Objectives of the Review

The Review will seek to ensure the NRSCH continues to be relevant to a growing and evolving community housing sector, and that CHPs deliver quality tenant outcomes.

The Review will:

  • Assess whether the purpose and objectives of the IGA and National Law have been met.
  • Assess whether the NRSCH was implemented effectively to achieve those objectives.
  • Identify options to update the NRSCH to support sector growth.
  • Identify options to update the NRSCH to support financing of community housing.
  • Assess what changes to the NRSCH, or other options for a future national regulatory system, might be required to support any future decision for Victoria and Western Australia to join.

Rationale for the Review

Clause 8.1 of the IGA requires a review of the Agreement after five years, or as otherwise agreed. Section 31 of the Community Housing Providers (Adoption of National Law) Act 2012 (NSW) requires a review to be undertake after five years to determine whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives. An additional driver is the establishment of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).

In its Final Report in September 2017, the Council on Federal Financial Relations Affordable Housing Working Group recommended that “… Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments and the community housing sector work together to develop and implement a uniform and nationally applied regulatory framework that supports the implementation of a bond aggregator as well as the growth of the sector nationally”.

The Review is an opportunity to consider the system with respect to the many changes in the operating environment of providers since the NRSCH commenced, such as the increasing complexity of financial arrangements for Community Housing Providers (CHPs), increased management transfers of public housing and the establishment of the NHFIC.

The Review will also provide an opportunity to simplify the framework, consider strengthened governance and financial management policies for CHPs seeking access to the bond aggregator, the entry of WA and Vic into the NRSCH and improved consistency in the operation of the regulatory framework and policy settings across jurisdictions.

Contacts

Email: NRSCHreview@facs.nsw.gov.au

Post:

Director - Housing
Strategic Policy – Commissioning
Department of Family and Community Services
Locked Bag 10
STRAWBERRY HILLS NSW  2012

The NRSCH Review
Housing Policy Branch
Welfare and Housing Reform Group
Department of Social Services
GPO Box 9820
Canberra ACT 2601

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Last updated: 29 Nov 2018
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