Bill's Media Releases


Today Labor is announcing our next tranche of housing affordability reforms that will improve housing affordability, create jobs, increase financial stability and reduce homelessness.

Australia is in the midst of a worsening housing affordability and homelessness crisis and Malcolm Turnbull is too out of touch to do anything about it.

On Malcolm Turnbull’s watch, the great Australian dream of home ownership has turned into a nightmare.

Labor is once again leading on housing affordability. Only Labor has a comprehensive policy to tackle this crisis.

For years the Abbott-Turnbull Government has ignored warnings to act on unfair and distortionary housing tax concessions and on the risks associated with increased borrowing in superannuation funds. They have simply failed to act.

Building on our existing proposals to reform negative gearing and capital gains tax, today Labor is announcing new policies to improve affordability, increase supply, boost jobs, and reduce the economic risks associated with distorted investment decisions.

Labor has a clear housing affordability plan:

  1. Reform negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions;
  2. Facilitate a COAG process to introduce a uniform vacant property tax across all major cities;
  3. Limit direct borrowing by self-managed superannuation funds;
  4. Increased foreign investor fees and penalties;
  5. Establish a bond aggregator to increase investment in affordable housing;
  6. Boost homelessness support for vulnerable Australians;
  7. Getting better results from the National Affordable Housing Agreement;
  8. Re-establish the National Housing Supply Council and the Minister for Housing.

A Shorten Labor Government will establish a COAG process to coordinate and facilitate a more efficient and uniform vacant property tax across all of Australia’s major cities. Australia’s housing stock should be used to put a roof over people’s heads, not as an asset locked up by a property speculator.

Labor will also restore the general ban on direct borrowing by superannuation funds, as recommended by the 2014 Financial Systems Inquiry, to help cool an overheated housing market partly driven by wealthy Self-Managed Super Funds.  This has seen an explosion in borrowing from $2.5 billion in 2012 to more than $24 billion today.

We will also further help level the playing field between first home buyers and property speculators by doubling the screening fees on foreign investment and financial penalties that apply to foreign investment in residential real estate.

Foreign Investment Review Board data has shown the amount of foreign investment purchases almost tripled over the three years to 2014-15, despite rising from a low base.

Labor will also provide $88 million over two years for a new Safe Housing Fund to increase transitional housing options for women and children escaping domestic and family violence, young people exiting out-of-home care and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness. This will reverse the Liberal cuts made in the 2014 budget.

We will also work with the states to drive better outcomes and performance in the National Affordable Housing Agreement, including strengthening benchmarks across the housing affordability spectrum such as housing supply, planning reform and inclusionary zoning.

The Liberals cuts to the National Rental Affordability Scheme and abolition of the Housing Help for Seniors Pilot, the National Housing Supply Council, and the First Home Savers Account Scheme have just made matters worse.

Labor’s plan seeks to restore some of the important housing initiatives cut by the Abbott-Turnbull Government, while outlining new policy actions which Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison refuse to take.

Labor’s package will see the construction of over 55,000 new homes over three years, and boost employment by 25,000 new jobs per year.

Only a Shorten Labor Government will tackle the housing affordability crisis and put the great Australian dream back within the reach of middle and working class families.

Housing affordability remains an ongoing challenge for many Australians. Labor will continue to announce policies and take leadership on this issue.

More information on Labor’s plan for housing affordability and jobs can be found here.


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