Developing housing strategies, driving housing programs and delivering better housing outcomes for Australia – Lessons from overseas 

14 September 2022
We have an opportunity to reverse course in Australia and start the process of making housing more affordable, better quality and more secure for renters. The new Federal government is signalling it is back in the ‘whole of housing’ business through a combination of institutional reform, a national plan and new funding for social and affordable rental housing.  
So, at this point when everyone is discussing what the agency should do, what ought to be included in the plan and how to deliver new homes, this workshop looks at Canada and Scotland to learn how both countries are tackling their housing challenges. 
From Canada we will hear about the development of their first national housing strategy – a ‘10-year, CAN $72+ billion plan, creating a new generation of housing in Canada giving more Canadians a place to call home’, the role played by their housing agency, the Canadian Mortgage and Finance Corporation, who’s been involved and what’s been achieved.  
From Scotland the focus will be on the role the not-for-profit housing sector is playing in delivering Housing to 2040, the country’s ambitious housing strategy that includes ‘£16 billion invested to deliver 100,000 more affordable homes by 2032, with at least 70% of these being for social rent. 
The workshop will also include time to consider what an Australian housing strategy should aspire to and how the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) could be structured to deliver the most homes. 
Key Learning Objectives: 
  • Understand what a successful housing strategy looks like and be in a position to contribute to the development of Australia’s national housing plan 
  • Unpack the critical elements in a successful housing program 
  • Evaluate the role the not-for-profit housing sector can play in delivering and managing social and affordable rental housing and what will enable this



9:00 AM | Session 1: The model housing strategy?  
How do we ensure an Australian housing and homelessness plan leads to real change and not some glossy document that disappoints? In this session we benefit from the expertise of Hal Pawson who have researched, evaluated and even written the odd housing strategy.  
Hal will consider what should be in the strategy, what data and investigation we need, who should do what, how it should fit with other plans and strategies, how to mobilise the resources to deliver and the implementation and evaluation. He will look at the role Housing Australia and the National Housing Affordability and Supply Council should play in the plan’s development and implementation.   
Hal Pawson, Professor Housing Research and Policy and Associate Director, City Futures Research Centre, UNSW 
10.00 AM | Session 2: Learning from the Canadian experience  
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has come a long way since its inception in 1946 to help returning war veterans find housing. Its mandate has since expanded to ‘improve housing affordability for all’. It led the development of the first Canadian National Housing Strategy and has played a major role in its implementation through delivering housing programs, supporting other sectors and working other levels of government through bilateral agreements. 
What can Australia learn from CMHC’s experience that could shape how Housing Australia is structured, how the states and territories could be involved and how the National Housing Plan is delivered. 
Derek Ballantyne, Chair, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 
11.00 AM | Morning Tea 
11:30 AM | Session 3: Looking at the role of the not-for-profit sector in Scotland’s mission to grow affordable housing options   

Scotland’s national housing strategy is an ambitious 20 year plan that builds on previous initiative to invest in new affordable homes, attracts private investment to help deliver more energy efficient homes, takes a place-based approach and looks beyond the bricks and mortar to ensure security and good quality services are provided.  
In this session, the CEO of Scottish housing association Blackwood Homes and Care will provide some background around strategy, and then focus on how the not-for-profit sector is involved, why it should take a leadership role, what this means in terms of its responsibilities, the importance of regulation and how the sector can be enabled to deliver the best outcomes for residents.   

Fanchea Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Blackwood Homes and Care  

12:30 PM | Networking Lunch 


1:30 PM| Session 4: Scotland and Canada experience  
In this interactive session, we consider what goes into delivering a successful housing program. Derek Ballantyne will speak about the Funding and Finance initiatives in the Canadian National Housing Strategy; Steve Pomeroy will consider the experience of the community housing sector, and the role the Community Housing Transformation Centre has played; and a guest speaker will speak about the Scottish Affordable Housing Supply Programme including how housing is commissioned by government.   
The speakers have around 15-20 minutes to say their piece, then we want to open up the session to questions and discussion about things you want to know such as: 
  • What’s been delivered, 
  • The role of the not-for-profit sector  
  • What innovation in construction, financing etc has there been? 
  • How has access to land been facilitated? 
  • Have planning approvals been an issue? 
  • What does a place-based approach mean? 
  • The response to recent changes in economic circumstances 
  • How programs leverage private capital and other contributions 
Derek Ballantyne, Chair, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 
Steve Pomeroy, Executive Advisor and Industry Professor, Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative (CHEC) McMaster University; Senior Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor, Carleton University School of Public Policy Administration 
Fanchea Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Blackwood Homes and Care 
3.00 PM | Session 5: What are the available exemplars for best leveraging the Housing Australia Future Fund money for new housing delivery? 

The Housing Australia Future Fund is forecast to deliver 30,000 homes over five years – a great start but we will need to continue building. What’s the best way to ensure the HAFF attracts other contributions? Does it matter who delivers the housing? What lessons are there from elsewhere? 
Carrie Hamilton, Associate, Housing Action Network will lay the groundwork with broad lessons from overseas and applications to Australian settings for unlocking additional investment  
Case study: The recent partnership announced between Brisbane Housing Company, Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), Australian Retirement Trust (ART) and the Queensland Government is an exemplar of how governments and institutional investors can work together with the community housing sector to raise capital and deliver social and affordable housing at scale. 
Rebecca Oelkers, CEO, Brisbane Housing Company 
Ryan Murphy, Director- Real Estate Strategy, QIC 
4.00 PM | End of Workshop & Networking Refreshments and Drinks 







Discussing the challenges and opportunities present within Australia’s current policy landscape, and some key lessons from previous history.  


The session kicks off with a journey around the country to understand what is planned in each of the state and territory housing programs. We will then delve deeper into two of the most ambitious programs to learn more their progress –  
  • Victoria’s Big Housing Build  
  • Queensland’s Housing Investment Growth Initiative 



New Zealand excited a fair few people when in October 2021 it introduced sweeping zoning reform to allow medium density housing in its largest cities. Alongside other housing policy reforms, the intention is to increase housing supply and improve housing affordability. Critically it also garnered bi-partisan support. How did it happen, will it be successful and what lessons for Australia? 


Bringing together panellists from different parts of the housing system, this session examines what the most effective ways are for the planning system to support affordable rental housing. Should it be mandatory inclusionary zoning or density bonuses or something else entirely? And, why is it so difficult to introduce such mechanisms in Australia and how could we break through?



  • The state of play on the Housing Australia Future Fund 
  • Working towards Housing Australia and the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council 
  • Developing a housing and homelessness plan 





As Australia sets up its new national housing agency, we look across the Pacific to what has been achieved by Canada’s CMHC in its 75 plus years. 



BHC have got a bit of a name for themselves providing popular housing options for older people; encouraging downsizing from public housing and developing the Arbor Sherwood Retirement Village. Learn about their schemes and the ingredients that went into their success. 


  • Can shared equity open homeownership to households who are otherwise excluded? 
  • Discussion with Oscar McLennan, co-founder of Ys Housing, who design, develop and finance net-zero homes for families most in need  









Back in late 2017, to much fanfare Canada launched its first national housing strategy. Here in Australia, we are about to embark on a similar journey. So what can we learn from a place with a comparable housing issues, a similar governance model and a national housing agency responsible for delivery? What has the Canadian housing strategy achieved since it was introduced in November 2017?


  • What interest is there amongst super funds in investing in social and affordable housing 
  • How can we structure financing opportunities to get the funds and other large investors to invest in housing?  
  • What opportunities does the new housing agenda present? 


Late last year, CHIA commissioned the creation of an ESG reporting standard for the sector with the support of multiple community housing organisations and a number of financial institutions.  The aim is to: 
  • Diversify the funding sources available to the Australian community housing sector 
  • Provide access to lower cost funds, and 
  • Help the sector consistently and credibly report on the value it creates. 
  • Learn much more at this session. 



  • How IBA supports First Nations peoples to access home ownership and its success 
  • How the new government’s housing agenda is opening up other opportunities 
  • What IBA is doing to support First Nations communities to invest in housing 



The pandemic exposed how difficult it is for many workers in key service sectors to access secure affordable rental housing, close to where they work. While direct government support is necessary to build housing for people on the lowest incomes, what about those a bit further up the income scale? Are there scalable options for private capital to get more homes for key workers using less government support?  Our speakers discuss their model project in Western Sydney and its prospects elsewhere in Australia 


When there isn’t much government support available, what should a CHO do? Foundation Housing’s answer was to innovate set up Elevate, a new housing program for key and essential workers on moderate incomes living in WA. How did they do, what does it involve, could it be replicated? Learn more at this session 


How should we go about integrating affordable rental options into market build to rent? Does it impact design and management?  What if any incentives are needed? Is it a scalable solution? And what role could / should CHOs play. First we will hear from one of the foremost UK experts on all things BTR before getting the views of an Australian aficionado.  



Single women in low waged employment are essentially locked out of home ownership with few viable options on offer. One new model is the Build to Rent to Buy scheme being developed in Canberra. Who is involved, how does it work, who will it help and could it be rolled out across Australia?  


Too many older women enter retirement wondering how they can afford skyrocketing rents and wishing they had a place they could call home. Even where someone has a bit of equity low-cost home ownership isn’t a goer if getting a mortgage is out of the question. In this session we explore an alternative model that could be one answer. 



Many people see huge opportunities arising from redeveloping public housing schemes. Older less energy efficient housing can be replaced, tenure can be diversified and up-zoning enable redevelopment at little apparent cost to the government budget bottom line. That said anyone who has been involved know it’s not a walk in the park. These are tenants homes and not all them see the benefits, there’s the disruption and risk of pushing out some communities plus these are often long, hard and risky developments. In this session we draw on insights of a practitioner and researcher to explore how we draw on the best examples and learn what to avoid. 


The session draws together leaders from across the housing spectrum to give their first impressions of progress on Australia’s housing challenges under the new government and what they hope to see next to achieve better housing outcomes into the future.