Housing Support Program - Frequently Asked Questions

Amendments to Stream 1 Guidelines

Please note that four significant Urban Areas currently defined as being urban in the Housing Support Program Guidelines are in fact are under the 100,000 person threshold.

Albury-Wodonga, Launceston, Mackay and Rockhampton will be considered a regional area not an urban area for the purposes of the Housing Support Program.

The ‘Canberra’ descriptor should also read ‘Canberra-Queanbeyan’.

What if the required state co-contribution funding will be considered in a state or territory budget process after the time the application is due for submission to the Housing Support Program (HSP)?

Where state and territory government departments are seeking funding through state and territory government budget process, and cannot confirm a co-contribution at the time of application lodgement, state and territory governments may submit their applications noting funding is pending approval.  Where funding is not approved, state or territory governments will be required to identify an alternative funding source, or withdraw the application.  

Can I have an extension to submit my application?

Potential application extensions are considered on a case-by-case basis by the Department.  Extensions will only be considered under extenuating circumstances.  Extenuating circumstances are generally defined as incidents impacting business continuity e.g. the internet connection was broken and an applicant was unable to apply, or the local government organisation was responding to a major issue such as flood or fire and staff resources were diverted to the local area response.

What is the Housing Support Program (HSP)?

The Australian Government’s Housing Support Program is one of a range of measures designed to help contribute to the National Housing Accord’s target of building 1.2 million new, well-located homes over five years from 1 July 2024.

The HSP will support the delivery of increased housing supply by funding projects that seek to deliver enabling infrastructure, provide amenities to support new housing development or improve building planning capability.

The HSP will be delivered in two streams. Stream 1 providing funding for projects that increase planning capability. Stream 2 providing funding focussed on infrastructure projects that support new housing.

What if I need more information? Who can I contact?

The Housing Support Program Team can be reached at PPDHousingSupportBranch@infrastructure.gov.au.

Am I eligible to apply for the Housing Support Program?

Applications can only be made by a local, state or territory government.

How can I apply for the Housing Support Program?

The Department will accept applications for Stream 1 from 8am Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) 27 March 2024. All applications must be submitted on the HSP 1 application form with all mandatory items completed. You will need to provide the following:

  • Basic information about the project
  • A project budget
  • Whether the project aligns with a state, territory and/or national housing strategy or plan
  • Evidence of co‑contributions from other contributors (such as private organisations or other LGAs for joint applications)
  • Proposed milestone schedule
  • Project timeline
  • Risk assessment (optional)
  • Project plan or design (optional)

Applications for Stream 2 projects will be opened at a later time to be advised.

Is there a limit on the number of applications which can be submitted by any one party?

All eligible applicants may submit an unlimited number of applications.

When will Applications for Stream 1 close?

Applications are to be submitted by email to PPDHousingSupportBranch@infrastructure.gov.au by 12 noon Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) Monday 29nd April 2024.

How much funding can I receive?

Each project can receive up to $5 million from the Housing Support Program. The Australian Government will contribute up to 100 per cent of project costs for successful local government projects and 50 per cent for successful state and territory applications.

Is there a restriction on the scope or size of a project?

There is no prescribed maximum or minimum project scope. The Australian Government cap on funding is $5 million per project.

How do I submit my application?

All applications must be submitted by email to: PPDHousingSupportBranch@Infrastructure.gov.au.

Will you accept late applications?

Applicants who expect to submit a late application are encouraged to contact the department to discuss the circumstances. Late applications may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

How will the applications be assessed?

Applications for Stream 1 will undergo three stages of assessment:

  • Eligibility assessment – all projects must meet specified requirements per the published guidelines and contain all mandatory information. If a project does not meet the eligibility requirements, a merit assessment will not be undertaken.
  • Merit assessment – the project will represent value for money, meet the program objectives and how it performs against assessment criteria.
  • Ministerial consideration – the Minister will make the final decision on which projects are funded based on recommendations from the Department.

When will I be notified of the outcome of an application?

Following the Minister’s decision, the Department will contact all applicants to inform them of the outcome of their application.

We expect it will take 4-6 weeks from Stream 1 closing date to assess applications. The approval process and announcement of successful applicants will take approximately 3-5 weeks from the assessment of applications. If an application is unsuccessful, you will be notified within two weeks of the outcomes being known.

Why was my application deemed unsuccessful?

Applicants may seek feedback on applications which were unsuccessful, by contacting PPDHousingSupportBranch@Infrastructure.gov.au.

When must the project/s be completed?

If you are successful the Department expects your Stream 1 project to commence no later than 31 July 2024.

The project must be completed on or before 30 May 2025. Funding for the program concludes on 30 June 2025. Any further funding for the Housing Support Program is a matter for government.

What will you be looking for in an application?

Eligible applications will be assessed against three criteria, weighted equally:

  • Alignment with the program objectives of increasing the supply of well-located housing.
  • Project Impact.
  • Capacity, capability and resources to deliver the project.

Do councils need endorsement from a state or territory government to submit an application?

Local governments do not need endorsement from their state or territory government in order to submit an application. All projects will need to demonstrate alignment with state or territory development plans, which may include evidence from a state or territory agency.

Should I add letters of support?

No. Letters of support will not affect the assessment of an application, except where that letter of support confirms co-funding for the project.

If my project becomes delayed due to uncontrollable factors, will the project completion date be extended?

For the Housing Support Program to be successful, all projects must be completed on or before 30 May 2025. Funding recipients must manage their outcomes to meet the timelines.

Can funding be withdrawn at any time of the project?

If an applicant is found to be non-compliant with the Guidelines during any stage of the project, scheduled payments may be withdrawn, and/or funding already paid be required to be reimbursed.

Can I withdraw my application?

Yes, you can withdraw your application at any stage.

Will I receive the results of the merit criteria assessment?

Applicants will be offered feedback on applications.

Can I contest the assessment of the application?

The Department’s decision on the eligibility of a project is final. The Minister will make the final decision on which projects are funded. Applicants will be offered feedback on applications.

What if my project comes in over budget?

All costs over the original project budget are the responsibility of the applicant. Where a project goes over budget, additional funds from the Australian Government will not be provided, unless there are agreed changes in the project.

For more information on the changes in the project, please review the Successful Applicant Guide (Default Funding Offer).

Note The Successful Applicant Guide (Default Funding Offer) will be published in coming weeks.

What can I use the funding for?

Costs are eligible for funding where the costs can be directly attributed to the project. The following items are examples of costs eligible for funding:

  • Consultancy fees
  • Project management costs
  • Labour costs for eligible work
  • Ancillaries directly related to the project, such as insurance.

Items that are not eligible for funding are maintenance costs and general business as usual costs.

Can I get a co-contribution with other Australian Government programs?

Yes, as long as the rules from the other program/s permit the use of the funds for this purpose. Funding from other Australian Government programs cannot be used to supplement a state or territory co-contribution.

What does ‘safe’ mean for well-located housing?

In the context of the housing support program, ‘safe’ is about a location’s resilience to natural disasters, rather than being related to security or policing.

This means as part of being well-located, homes should not be in an area that faces a high risk of natural hazards relative to other areas within their jurisdiction. If homes are, or will be, in high risk location, appropriate risk mitigation strategies must be in place.

Examples of such natural hazards include, but are not limited to bushfires, tropical cyclones, floods, storm and storm surge, earthquakes, and actions of the sea.

How will funding be provided to local governments?

The Australian Government will provide funding to the states and territories, through a Federation Funding Agreement (FFA) Schedule. States and territories will then provide funding directly to local governments.

More information can be found on the Successful Applicant Guide (Default Funding Offer).

Note The Successful Applicant Guide (Default Funding Offer) will be published in coming weeks.

Why would the Commonwealth consider the same bucket of funds should be shared between state and local governments when many regional local governments have very different housing problems to state governments which are based in capital cities? Why is there not a set amount set aside for regional councils?

The Housing Support Program was agreed by National Cabinet. The Commonwealth, state and territory governments came together as part of the Housing Accord to set the parameters for the program.

The Government acknowledges there are different needs in different jurisdictions and different types of jurisdictions. The guidelines are quite broad in terms of the types of projects that can be brought forward that will respond to the particular needs of the place that you are in rather than setting really stringent guidelines. Whilst the Housing Support Program has been set up as a national program, there will be nuances and differences between different kinds of places.

How will regional, rural and remote community applications be assessed as compared to larger centres?

The Australian Government designed the Housing Support Program as a national program but acknowledges that the impact of a number of houses in different jurisdictions will be different. As result, as described in merit criterion 2, well-located dwellings in regional areas will be evaluated as being equivalent to 3 well-located dwellings in an urban area.

Why does the Housing Support Program have short timelines?

The Department has a small window to get this funding out the door, the National Housing Accord itself only runs for five years. For the target of 1.2 million homes to be met in five years, we need to make sure that the Housing Support Program funding is provided as quickly as possible at the beginning of the Housing Accord period to kickstart housing supply.

In acknowledgement of the short timeframe, we have tried to keep the funding process as streamlined as possible and kept the level of information required low, but we do acknowledge that this will mean that some councils or state and territory governments will choose to not apply.

Will the regional councils get priority given that they struggle through guideline processes?

The Housing Support Program has been designed to give parity to all jurisdictions, in acknowledgement that housing is a crisis in every community in the country.

Is preliminary planning work for affordable housing projects eligible under Stream 1?

Stream 1 is designed to help uplift the planning capability not for specified planning for housing developments. The intention is to fund projects that will streamline the planning system and speed up the construction of housing.

Can early works such as remediation of contaminated land be funded?

Not under Stream 1, which is designed to uplift planning capability. This is an issue to be resolved through consultation for the design of Stream 2.

Can affordable housing under the Housing Support Program be designed at attracting specialised council workers and seasonal workers to the remote region?

The Housing Support Program does not specify the type or number of housing funding may support. The Australian Government acknowledges that needs will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

How would joint applications by state and local governments be assessed and weighted?

The merits of each application will be assessed against the selection criteria. . Weighting relates to region not the applicant. The co-contribution requirement will depend on who is the lead applicant for the joint application.

How does the Housing Support Program address other factors that have a greater influence on housing than planning? Specifically, market conditions, cost of construction, labour supply and availability.

The Australian Government acknowledges that there are a wide range of factors impacting on the supply of housing. The Housing Support Program is one part of the Government's response to the housing crisis and is focused specifically on planning and enabling infrastructure.

Is funding under program contingent on co funding from eligible councils and state governments? If co-funding is required, what is the minimum percentage that must be put forward by a Council or state government?

The Australian Government will fund up to 100% of proposals brought forward by local government and up to 50% of proposals brought forward by state and territory governments.

In some regional, remote and very remote areas there is well-known market failure where the cost of building a house far outweighs the value of it when completed, resulting in the inability to attract private investors to build housing. Why isn’t the Australian Government providing funding for housing construction?

The Housing Support Program is one of the Australian Government’s measures under the Housing Accord that is specifically trying to deal with the enabling infrastructure issue.

Will there be a requirement on developers to deliver within a specific time frame and or deliver a higher community benefit if they have the benefit of a streamlined process?

Stream 1 projects are for uplifting planning capability. This will benefit developers and communities in that planning approvals are expected to be finalised quicker allowing construction to commence earlier.

Will there be future programs that provide housing specifically for regional, rural and remote communities? This scheme feels very much skewed to metro areas.

This is one program that has been funded for 18 months out of National Cabinet. Future funding and funding for different types of housing programs will be a matter for government.

Will criteria weighting favour local governments where state planning Minister has already made public and or media announcement that X houses will be built in X town?

If that public media announcement is in line with the state development plans that guidelines ask to applications to show alignment with, then then yes because that'll be a clear way to demonstrate that criteria.

Is there some indication available for expected maximum funding for Stream 1 and planning system projects at this stage?

There is no determined allocated funding for either stream as the Government is keen to see what gets brought forward. The Government acknowledges that the funding required for Stream 2 projects is likely to be a much larger quantum, therefore a larger share of the funding will go to Stream 2. Stream 1 projects are capped at a $5 million Australian Government contribution.

The Department is expecting that approximately $50 million will be committed for Stream 1 and $450 million for Stream 2, but that is not a hard and fast split.

Will the funding be provided on a per capita basis?

The Housing Support Program is a competitive funding program. There is no per capita allocation for jurisdictions. Funding recommendations and decisions will be based on the merits of the applications that are submitted.

Can projects/initiatives be submitted as a package of works in one application?

Projects/initiatives may be submitted as a package of works or as individual applications. Please note that the funding cap for Stream 1 is $5 million per application, not per project within an application.

For Stream 1 projects, when demonstrating how providing pathways for increasing capacity in the industry increases the potential number of dwellings that this may increase over a time period, is this to be tied to a specific location?

The Australian Government acknowledges that estimating how an increase in capacity will impact on supply may be difficult to tie to dwelling numbers at a specific location. The Department will consider a coherent methodology that can link how the planning capability uplift will speed up planning approvals.

Can Stream 1 funding be used for an assessment of current infrastructure and services to assess what we need to improve to meet the housing promises already made by a state or territory government?

This is an element of planning that goes into master planning and an example of the kind of projects that this funding could be eligible for.

Will there be engagement with applicants if any further information is required?

No, the Housing Support Program is a competitive program. If there is a minor administrative error the Department will contact applicants to correct this. The Department may contact you to clarify information provided in your application, but will not consider new or additional information. Applications go through three stages:

  1. Eligibility assessment.
  2. Merit assessment.
  3. Ministerial consideration.

If successful projects aren't announced until up to six weeks after the closing date of the 29 April and the project completion date is May 2025, would this mean personnel/shared resources could be less than a 12-month funded position or contract or can they be engaged until 30 June 2025?

The Department would consider a 12- month appointment of those positions.

The Housing Support Program will fund related professions if there is a clear tie to the ability to uplift that planning capability.

Can Stream 1 funding be used for master planning for social infrastructure in order to provide a desirable community to entice developers?

Stream 1 funding can be used for master planning, if it is for social infrastructure the application must demonstrate a link to increasing and/or fast-tracking housing.

Can Stream 1 funding be sought for housing master planning across an entire jurisdiction, if it resulted in identified development parcels with appropriate zoning applied in local planning schemes like specially designed communities?

Master Plan projects are eligible; the application will need to demonstrate a clear link to increasing and/or fast-tracking housing.

Can Stream 1 funding be used to develop/update a developers contribution plan?

The application will need to demonstrate the link between the developers contribution plan and increasing and/or fast-tracking housing.

Stream 2 Questions and Answers

Note: Stream 2 is still in development and the answers provided are indicative only

Will the timing for delivery and completion of Stream 2 infrastructure be extended at this stage?

The Government has determined that the program is due to be completed on 30 June 2025.

Will Stream 2 projects need to be directly linked to a housing project or can it be for developing services to bring land on the market to build houses?

Stream 2 parameters are still being finalised. However, the intention is for Stream 2 to focus on infrastructure projects that support new housing. This Stream is designed to remove barriers to housing construction by ensuring enabling infrastructure and community amenities are in place. 

Examples of enabling infrastructure include new or upgraded sewerage systems, drainage, water, transport infrastructure.

Will Stream 2 projects need to be linked to a successful Stream 1 project?