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Decision time…Round 5 NRAS applications “frozen” as Federal government looks for budget savings

Extracts from Saturday’s Weekend Australian:

By Patricia Karvelas & Turi Condon

THE Abbott government will slash the $4.5 billion National Rental Affordability Scheme, which has had the present round of applications frozen.

Senior government sources have confirmed that the scheme, which has been criticised for letting wealthy foreign students ­access taxpayer-subsidised housing meant for low-income Australians, will face a revamp that delivers “substantial” savings in next month’s budget.

The Department of Social Services received applications for almost 80,000 incentives under round five, covering 2200 projects across Australia, but The Weekend Australian can reveal that none has progressed after the government effectively halted the process.
The entire scheme will now be cut back. A senior source said while some had called for its abolition, the government wanted to maintain a national housing scheme but felt the one designed by the previous Labor government was “unsustainable”.

The NRAS is worth $4.5bn across 10 years. About 38,000 incentives already have been allocated, worth a total of about $3.5bn.