THE GOVERNMENT ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY - TOO MANY COOKS AND NO BROTH

16 Mar 2017


Eighteen months ago, Malcolm Turnbull took the Liberal leadership promising a more mature discussion on economic issues. We’re still waiting. After all this time, it is still not even clear who is responsible for housing affordability.

THE GOVERNMENT ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY - TOO MANY COOKS AND NO BROTH

Eighteen months ago, Malcolm Turnbull took the Liberal leadership promising a more mature discussion on economic issues. We’re still waiting. After all this time, it is still not even clear who is responsible for housing affordability.

A year and a half ago, the Treasury Secretary, John Fraser, was unequivocal that it was Social Services:

McALLISTER:         Mr Fraser, are you the lead agency for housing for the government?

FRASER:      No, we are not the lead agency

McALLISTER:         Who is the lead agency?

FRASER:      Social Services. We all work together–

(Treasury Estimates, October 2015)

 

At estimates this year, the Finance Minister was adamant that the Treasurer was in charge:

GALLAGHER:          Minister, within the cabinet is it clear who has responsibility for housing affordability?

CORMAN:     It is very clear. Obviously the Treasurer is the leader of the economic team, unquestionably, and this is squarely a matter that falls within the Treasury portfolio.

(Treasury Estimates, February 2017)

Meanwhile at a Senate inquiry hearing on Tuesday, Treasury official revealed that Prime Minister and Cabinet chair an “interdepartmental working group” and that it had only been first convened in December 2016, presumably when this government realised there was a problem in Australia’s housing market.

Three different portfolios. No action. No clue.

THURSDAY, 16 MARCH 2017