MORRISON AND SUKKAR IN DENIAL ON HOUSING

21 Jul 2017

The Treasurer and his Assistant remain in denial on affordable housing, defending the indefensible and continuing to make outrageous and unsubstantiated claims.

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS AND APPRENTICESHIPS

MORRISON AND SUKKAR IN DENIAL ON HOUSING

The Treasurer and his Assistant remain in denial on affordable housing, defending the indefensible and continuing to make outrageous and unsubstantiated claims. 

Yesterday they continued the spin, with Minister Sukkar saying ‘hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars will ultimately be funnelled into fantastic affordable housing projects’ due to the creation of an investment bond aggregator and a capital gains tax concession for investment in affordable housing.

Labor proposed and continues to support the creation of a bond aggregator but to claim that it will deliver ‘billions’ in investment is clearly exaggeration by Minister Sukkar. He should explain how he arrived at the figure, especially as research indicates a much lower amount of investment funds will be raised. His spin is an attempt to cover the fact that the government has wasted four years and continues to do nothing substantial on housing.

Minister Sukkar has form – before the Budget he promised the government’s policy package would be ‘extraordinarily large’ and ‘it will be an impressive package, it will be a well-received package.’ 

Yet the government’s package was a total fizzer. The Grattan Institute’s John Daley said “you'll need a scanning electron microscope to see an impact on prices”. After all the hype in the months leading up to the Budget, the Treasurer produced nothing of substance. Shelter Australia called it ‘a centerpiece without a centrepiece’.

Ultimately, the Turnbull Government cannot be taken seriously on housing policy when it has no Minister for Housing and Homelessness and refuses to reform negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

Last week the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) research report was scathing in its assessment:

‘The research notes that there is evidence that this neglect is deliberate on the part of the present Federal Government and argues for stronger policy treatment of housing within the federal administrative arrangements.’

While the Turnbull Government is deliberately neglecting housing affordability, Labor has led the debate on housing policy. Housing is a key policy area for Labor as we seek to address rising inequality.

With cuts to penalty rates, stagnant wages and surging house prices, housing costs are biting hard for working people. Analysis of the 2016 Census shows that around 30 per cent of all households, including renters and mortgagees, are in housing stress. Lack of affordable housing options close to work and services are causing longer commutes for low- and average-income workers, hurting productivity and affecting community and family life.

While the Turnbull Government continues with spin and bluster on the housing affordability crisis, Labor has a housing affordability plan to remove distortions in the rental market, level the playing field between wealthy investors and home buyers to put home ownership back in reach, create jobs and reduce homelessness.

FRIDAY, 21 JULY 2017