Tuesday, 29 May 2018
Matters of Public Importance
I've listened to the various contributions from honourable members on the need for a national housing strategy to promote housing affordability for all Australians. The coalition government has implemented a number of measures to promote investment in the housing market through increasing the supply of residential lots and the construction of dwellings to meet demand for housing, thereby promoting greater housing affordability.
Prior to entering parliament, I came from a local government and property-development background. Housing affordability is closely related to the release of land. What is required is a more streamlined town-planning and environmental-approvals process, working closely with state and local government authorities to ensure that new lots can be efficiently serviced with electricity, water and gas, sewerage and telecommunications. In addition, investment in infrastructure—roads; rail; transport infrastructure—by the federal government lays the foundation for more land releases in suburban areas around our cities.
As financing and holding costs account for a significant proportion of the cost of land, timely approvals processes and construction are an important factor in keeping costs under control. The promotion of medium-density development, smart cities and livable neighbourhoods is brought about by existing government policies and by working in partnership with the private sector through developer-contribution schemes for the provision of infrastructure and community facilities.
Similarly, the coalition government has a number of policies which promote investment in property development and create supply in the housing market. One such measure is maintaining the current capital gains tax discount at 50 per cent for assets held more than a year. In contrast, under Labor's proposal 75 per cent of capital gains will be taxed at an individual's marginal rate. A coalition government will also maintain the existing negative gearing arrangements to assist people to save and invest in property for their future financial security and independence.
To help create more housing supply, the government is replacing the National Affordable Housing Agreement, which provides $1.3 billion a year to the states and territories, with a new set of agreements requiring them to deliver on housing supply targets. The government is also establishing a $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility to fund City Deals that remove infrastructure impediments to developing new homes. The government is creating an online Commonwealth land registry detailing sites that can be made available for residential development such as the sale of surplus Commonwealth land such as that surplus of Defence Force requirements. The coalition is establishing a new Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to provide long-term, low-cost finance to support more affordable rental housing. We're also allowing managed investment trusts to be used to develop and own affordable housing, providing investors affordable housing with a greater income certainty by enabling direct deduction of welfare payments from tenants and increasing the capital gains tax discount tax for 60 per cent for investments in affordable housing. Finally, there is the First Home Super Saver Scheme, which allows individuals to make voluntary contributions up to $15,000 per year and $30,000 in total to their superannuation account to purchase their first home.
Housing affordability is one of the six focus themes that the coalition government has identified for action by City Deals depending on local priorities and issues, increasing the availability and affordability of housing near job opportunities and transport connections, which will deliver important social and economic outcomes while also contributing to improved liveability through smart design and reduced travel times. In addition, the budget, through disciplined fiscal management, ensuring that wage growth is matched by productivity growth, helps keep inflation under control, which in turns take pressure off interest rates. Maintaining a low-interest-rate environment is important to ensure housing affordability for millions of Australians paying off their mortgages in our suburbs.