CENSUS SHOWS FAILURE OF TURNBULL HOUSING POLICIES

27 Jun 2017

Today’s 2016 Census figures tell a familiar story of declining home ownership, fewer people owning their home outright, more people renting and higher rents.

CHRIS BOWEN MP
SHADOW TREASURER 
MEMBER FOR MCMAHON

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS AND APPRENTICESHIPS
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES


CENSUS SHOWS FAILURE OF TURNBULL HOUSING POLICIES

Today’s 2016 Census figures tell a familiar story of declining home ownership, fewer people owning their home outright, more people renting and higher rents.

Perhaps most worrying, analysis of the census figures also shows that around a third of people are in housing stress, including renters and those paying off their mortgage.

While the Census figures are a snapshot at one point in time, they highlight the ongoing failure of the Turnbull Government to address housing affordability or the decline in home ownership.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar promised the government’s 2017 Budget housing policy package would be ‘extraordinarily large’ and ‘it will be an impressive package, it will be a well-received package.’.

However, the 2017 Budget grab-bag of unrelated measures did not address key drivers of housing unaffordability that are in the Commonwealth’s control, such as reform to negative gearing and capital gains tax. The Grattan Institute’s John Daley said “you'll need a scanning electron microscope to see an impact on prices”.

Housing is a complex policy area, and there are multiple causes for the changes reflected in the census. However the Turnbull Government’s housing policies are exacerbating these worrying trends. 

The ‘great Australian dream’ is slipping further away, with home ownership down to 65.5 per cent. It was 67 per cent at the 2011 census.

Renters make up to 30.9 per cent of the housing market, while 25 years ago they were at 26.9 per cent.

The proportion of those owning their own homes outright has declined from 41.1 per cent in 1991 to 31 per cent in 2016. As outright ownership declines, residents with mortgages now account for 34.5 per cent of the total, up from 27.5 per cent in 1991.

Also noteworthy is the rise in the number of homes being left vacant. While there are many reasons why a home could be empty on Census night, it is a worry that 11.2 per cent of dwellings - or about 1.04 million homes - were unoccupied, up from 10.7 per cent in 2011. This could be a result of a rise in speculation or ‘land banking’ by investors.

Labor has announced, debated and defended policies that will address the problems highlighted by the Census. Labor is leading the debate on housing policy, while the Turnbull government is hoping that their failure to deliver on the promises they made before the Budget will be forgotten. 

TUESDAY, 27 JUNE 2017