June 11, 2024 by Dymphna

It’s a shocking stat, but also not surprising

I really thought they might have done better.

How many homes do you reckon you could build for $30m.

Let’s not scrimp. Let’s say $750,000 each – which is a bit more than the national median.

So it’s about 40 right? $30m should enable you to build at least 40 homes.

But nope. Not if you’re the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF). They have a different number.

Do you remember the HAFF? That’s the latest solution to the housing crisis. An entity located in Canberra charged with funding and delivering 40,000 social and affordable houses over the next five years.

At a run rate of 8,000 a year, it’s not amazing. Labor’s (increasingly aspirational) target is for 1.2m in five years, or 240,000 a year. So 8,000 isn’t going to be a game changer. But every bit helps.

But last week we learnt that HAFF is off and away and have already spent $30m.

Nice. That’s a strong start. And how many homes did they deliver for that?


Zero homes.


The federal government’s Housing Australia Future Fund has been called out after it was revealed $30 million had been spent without the construction of a single home.

More than $24 million was paid to external consultants while $6 million went to annual executive salaries last year, The Australian reported.

Documents obtained by The Australian also revealed Housing Australia paid out more than $16 million for legal, IT and “advisory” contracts in 2023.

Contractors attached to Housing Australia within the documents included 19 staff from advisory firm PwC – employed by the housing agency on salaries of more than $300,000 a year and five on more than $400,000 a year.

The spending revelations came a month after Treasurer Jim Chalmers handed down the 2024-25 Budget, which outlined Labor’s plan to achieve an additional $1 billion in savings on consultants.

The highest paid executive with the agency is CEO Nathan Da Bon who is sitting on a total package of $557,000 – about $30,000 less than Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Look, I don’t want to get too narky. HAFF has $10bn to manage, so you want to get your governance structures right. But still, $30m seems a bit steep.

But the broader point is that housing is just hard.

It’s hard to do in the market – construction companies are going bust left right and centre.

And it’s hard to do in the public sector – so many governments have tried and failed to shift the needle.

It is very hard to see this shifting any time soon.