Millions freed up for affordable housing

The federal government has freed up an extra $575 million to boost its affordable housing agenda.

The funds were previously sitting idle in a fund earmarked for housing-enabling infrastructure, such as water or gas pipes, but Housing Minister Julie Collins has now opened the funding up to affordable and social housing developments.

The re-appropriated funds will be used to drive more investment in housing as per the Labor government's commitment to build a million new homes in five years from 2024.

Unlocking finance from super funds and other institutional funds is central to the plan and was discussed at an investor roundtable hosted by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Friday.

The attendees at Friday's event in Sydney included the big four banks' CEOs and the head of Australia's sovereign wealth fund, Raphael Arndt, while ACT chief minister Andrew Barr represented the states and territories.

A new build-to-rent development in Westmead, Sydney, will likely serve as an exemplar for future housing projects that leverage institutional capital.

To be delivered under a partnership between investment firm AXA IM Alts, community housing provider St George Community Housing (SGCH) and the federal government's National Housing and Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC), the project will deliver around 350 dwellings, some of which will be rented out at below market rent.

NHFIC, which was set up to provide long-term, low-cost finance for social and affordable housing projects, will provide a loan of around $150 million alongside funding from AXA IM Alts.

SGCH chief executive officer Scott Langford said the project had been enabled by Labor's housing framework.

"It is consistent with what the government is asking NHFIC to do, which is bringing in institutional investment, and so that's been an important policy direction that's given NHFIC the confidence to enter into this arrangement," Mr Langford told AAP.

The development will include a combination of subsidised homes - around 25 per cent below the going market rate - as well as market rate dwellings.

Subsidised homes will be managed by SGCH and will be earmarked for "key workers", which includes police officers, teachers and nurses.

"This is the first public-private partnership of this type where we are getting institutional investors working with government, working with the social housing providers," Ms Collins said.

"This is the type of project that we want to see replicated right across the country," she told reporters in Sydney.

Dr Chalmers said partnerships between investors and government could bring returns for both shareholders and the nation.

"We are bringing together trillions of dollars of funds under management to see how we can work together to address some of our big economic challenges," he said.

"The Albanese government wants to work with investors to see where we can deliver win-wins for investors and super fund members and for the national economy and the Australian people more broadly."

The roundtables will continue next year with a look at digitalisation and sustainable energy.