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Greens knock back Labor's proposed housing fund tweaks

The government is proposing key changes to its $10 billion housing fund but the Greens say Labor is still not moving on its two key demands.

The Greens have rebuffed Labor's last-ditch concessions on the housing fund as crunch time approaches for the federal government's signature housing policy. 

In a letter to crossbench senators, Housing Minister Julie Collins said the government would make key changes to the bill, including dumping the $500 million cap for earnings distributed to housing.

Under the changes, there will be a fixed disbursement of $500 million per year from 2024/25, which will also be indexed from 2029/30.

The annual disbursement amount could also be increased in future years by the treasurer or finance minister.

Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mathers said the changes would close a "glaring loophole" that would have meant no money was spent in a given year.

He said the government had not addressed either of the minor party's two key concerns - more funding for social and affordable housing than promised under the housing fund legislation, and freezing or capping rent increases.

"Let's be clear, what the government is proposing is not to spend any money for 12 months time and then only $500 million, not index it for six years - so lock in real term cuts for six years - and not build a single home until 2025," Mr Chandler-Mathers told Sky News.

"That is not a response to the worst housing crisis this country has faced in generations."

He said the party would keep negotiating in good faith but time is running out, with the bill due to hit the Senate in the upcoming sitting fortnight.

Ms Collins said the $10 billion housing fund is the single-biggest investment in social and affordable housing from a federal government in more than a decade.

The fund would be invested to generate returns which would subsidise 30,000 affordable homes each year.

"Any further delay will mean people in need will wait longer for the homes the Housing Australia Future Fund will provide, including women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and older women at risk of homelessness."

The government is looking to pass the housing fund bill in the next fortnight before parliament adjourns for two months.

Among the changes is that homes built as part of the fund would also meet universal design standards, while the Commonwealth would work with states and territories for a consistent definition of affordable housing.


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