Labor's Housing Affordability Focus
Welcome But Incomplete

Master Builders welcomes Labor’s focus on affordable housing and homelessness in a statement by the Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Senator Katy Gallagher. 

“The proposal to appoint a dedicated Housing Minister is also welcome but the portfolio remit should be expanded to include supply matters not just demand,” Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia said. 

“Labor has missed an opportunity to commit to policies that will tackle the real causes of worsening housing affordability, which is not negative gearing,” he said. 

“Dealing with the challenges of homelessness and first home buyers are genuine policy concerns but it is wrong to lay the blame at the feet of negative gearing,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. 

“Negative gearing is not the cause of high house prices and restricting it will do nothing to assist first home buyers to enter the market or fix the accommodation needs of the homeless,” he said. 

“There are more fundamental problems that need to be addressed. These were well documented in the ‘Henry Review’ of Australia’s Future Tax System. It requires a mature and genuine debate in revisiting the known problems and to implement the known solutions and negative gearing is not one of them,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. 

“Labor’s recognition of the need for a coordinated national approach is a good start,” he said. 

 “Master Builders has consistently called for the Federal Government to work with states and territories to remove the structural impediments to building more new homes as increasing the housing supply is the only effective solution to keeping housing affordable for all Australians – whether that be in the private or public sectors,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. 

“Master Builders’ is calling for its 5 Steps For More Affordable Housing that tackle the real causes of worsening affordability, inefficient land release strategies, excessive taxes and charges, red and green tape and inefficient approvals processes. More funding for social housing and homelessness should also form part of the policy response mix,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. 

Master Builders 5 Steps For More Affordable Housing: 

  1. Introducing payments to higher-performing local governments based on national competition policy principles. This would reward best practice performance and encourage improved delivery of housing-related services. 
  2. Streamlined and simplified development approvals processes. These would be achieved through greater reliance on code-based assessment and identification of best practice development approvals processes in State, Territory and Local Governments.  
  3. State and Local Governments developing and implementing individual, realistic and tailored Land Release Plans. These would set out timelines for the release of identified land for residential development and identify ways to overcome regulatory or other impediments to process. 
  4. Creating a genuine, comprehensive and enforceable uniform building code and regulatory system. The Council of Australian Governments must play a leading role in developing the Building Code of Australia into a nationally-consistent set of building requirements recognised as the central authority by all jurisdictions through legislative reform.  
  5. Ensuring State and Territory Governments honour their commitment to abolish stamp duties on business conveyances of real property. This should be followed by a rigorous review of the impact of stamp duty on residential property. 

    Don't forget to watch the 5 Steps For More Affordable Housing Video