Slomo fiddles while dream of home ownership burns

24 March 2017

At the Council of Federal Financial Relations today, State and Territory Treasurers have every right to ask Mr Morrison what hes been doing for the last 18 months.

Mr Morrison paid lip service to housing affordability in the Council of Federal Financial Relations in October 2015. Young Australian first home buyers are still waiting for action.

Here we are in March 2017 and the Turnbull Government still has no housing affordability policy beyond a weak, negative attack on Federal Labors reforms to negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount.

The fact of the matter is, its not the Turnbull Government leading on how to deal with the housing affordability crisis, its the likes of Victoria and the ACT Government that has put forward bold policy agendas on housing affordability and supply.

Lecturing State Governments about housing supply while refusing to take policy actions open to the Commonwealth to improve housing affordability is a cruel kind of hypocrisy.

Nothing Mr Morrison has floated or backgrounded will help level the playing field for young first home buyers trying to compete with property investors to enter the housing market.

Mr Morrison needs to be upfront with the State and Territory Treasurers ahead of the Commonwealth Budget about his plans for housing affordability and supply, particularly as it relates to what it expects from the States and Territories.

Its also past time for the Commonwealth Government to use all available levers to it to drive reform on supply and affordability at the national, state and local levels.

Mr Morrison must reform what are among the most generous property investment tax concessions in the world, in negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount.

And the Treasurer must drop this folly of actually considering allowing access to superannuation savings for housing a move that only serves to undermine retirement incomes and further drive up the price of housing.

Unfortunately, the Turnbull-Abbott Governments record and starting point on affordability is one of cuts and pulling back on a role for the Commonwealth in housing policy, by:

  • Refusing to appoint a Minister for Housing to acknowledge the problem;
  • Abolishing the National Housing Supply Council;
  • Shutting down the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

This all comes as yet another report, this time from the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, tracks the growing number of Australians who will retire having never owned a home or with a large mortgage debt remaining.
The report calls on the Commonwealth Government to consider modifying or abolishing negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount.