Radio Interview, 5AA Adelaide

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The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Assistant Minister for the Republic

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Ben Leeson on 0404 648 275

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18 April 2024

SUBJECTS: Defence Housing Angle Park

STACEY LEE, HOST: But as I say, we have a housing announcement in South Australia today. I think we all know that there's a huge housing shortage right now for everyone, anyone who's looking to buy a house, if you're looking to downsize, maybe you're looking to buy your first home. Your kids or grandkids are trying to get into the market. They know all too well how difficult it is to get a house at the moment. And it also plays into the jobs, job shortage as well. Well, people shortage, rather, workforce, because if you want to move interstate, if we want people to be coming to South Australia or coming to Adelaide to work, we need to have houses for them. The Federal Government has identified that this is an issue, particularly for Defence personnel, and they've made a housing announcement in South Australia today. Matt Thistlethwaite is the Assistant Minister for Defence and he joins you now. Good afternoon, Assistant Minister, thanks for your time.

MATT THISTLETHWAITE, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: Good afternoon, Stacey. Thanks for having me on.

LEE: So, are you building new homes in South Australia?

ASSISTANT MINISTER: That's exactly right. Today I opened a number of homes at Angle Park, and Defence Housing Australia is building 187 homes there. 85 of them will be for Australian Defence Force members and their families, with the remainder for the local community. And the first 14 of those homes have been completed. We've just got a tender on the next 40 and the remainder will be constructed over the next couple of years. So, it's a win for the local community and it's also a win for our well deserving Defence force personnel and their families.

LEE: So, it was 14 that are completed now?

ASSISTANT MINISTER: Yes, that's correct, 14 have been completed. We opened one of those today. The others already have occupants in them and in total there'll be 187 homes once the project is completed.

LEE: Right. And you said not all of them are for Defence personnel, but a large chunk of them are?

ASSISTANT MINISTER: Yeah 85 of them are for Australian Defence Force personnel and they're perfectly located about midway between Defence base Edinburgh and the city. And we know that over the course of the next decade, bases like Edinburgh and the Osborne shipyard are going to be very, very busy with AUKUS, with Defence Science and Technology Group getting additional work and additional troops coming to work on those important projects.

LEE: And so how does it work for those Defence personnel? Is it a leasing situation? Do they rent it off the Federal Government or can they buy it off you in a subsidised way?

ASSISTANT MINISTER: Yeah, it's housing for Defence Force personnel and they lease them off Defence Housing Australia, but they're subsidised so they don't pay market rents. And they reflect the fact that these individuals and their families are serving our nation. And they're good quality homes. Interestingly, they've all got six star energy ratings, the ones that I opened today. So, they're the best quality, great workmanship and they're part of a community. There's a childcare centre across the road, there's local sporting facilities, a community centre. They're well located. They're good quality homes that our Australian Defence Force personnel and their families deserve.

LEE: And are they families moving to Adelaide for the job or are they families that are already here?

ASSISTANT MINISTER: They're a mix. Some of them will be people that will be based at Edinburgh and other Defence bases in Adelaide, and some of them will be for ADF personnel that have been here for some time. And we're going to be growing the capability in this area. It's strategically important to Defence with the nuclear propelled submarine programme being based here in Adelaide, the Hunter class frigates programme and lesser known the Defence Science and Technology Group is headquartered down there at Defence base Edinburgh and they do some fantastic work on space research and cyber capacity into the future. So, really important strategic location for the Defence Force moving forward.

LEE: And they're only rentals or can you sell them to an ADF worker if they want to buy one?

ASSISTANT MINISTER: No, they're only rentals. Defence Housing Australia is specifically established by the Commonwealth Government as a government business enterprise with its sole aim of supplying housing for Australian Defence Force personnel and their families. And we know that Defence personnel move around quite a bit on deployments, so these are specifically for people who will be deployed to bases such as Edinburgh and the wider Adelaide region to ensure that they can live in comfort and security with their families whilst they're performing that important work down here.

LEE: Okay. That's the voice of Matt Thistlethwaite, the Assistant Minister for Defence. He opened 14 new Defence Housing properties in Angle Park this morning in Adelaide's northern suburbs. So, you mentioned there's 187 homes being built out there in total by the Federal Government. 80 or so of them will be for ADF staff and the rest remainder for the community. When will those be ready? The remainder for the community. And when will they be up for sale?

ASSISTANT MINISTER: Yeah, in the next financial year they'll be up for sale so community members can look out for that. And they're good quality homes and that's what we like to do with Defence Housing developments have a mix of Defence Housing and residential housing as well, so that you're creating communities, so that Defence Force personnel feel that they're part of a community, but you're also providing a benefit for the local community. And we know in Australia how tight housing markets are at the moment. So, it's great that Defence Housing Australia is contributing to alleviating some of that pressure on our housing market.

LEE: Yeah. Okay. And so when you say next financial year, is that June, like this June or 2025?

ASSISTANT MINISTER: Yeah, it'll be the 24, 24 25 financial year.

LEE: Okay. So, could be later this year?

ASSISTANT MINISTER: Yeah, that's right.

LEE: All right. Just thought I better. Better clear that one up. I wasn't sure if it's a few months time or 18 months time.


LEE: Great. All right, well, thanks for your time this afternoon.

ASSISTANT MINISTER: My pleasure, Stacey. Thank you.

LEE: Appreciate it. That was Matt Thistlethwaite, Assistant Minister for Defence here in Adelaide today, opening those homes in Angle Park. 



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