Monday, 11 September 2023
Private Members' Business
It's remarkable that the government is complaining about people being unhappy with their housing track record. It's not the people on this side who are unhappy; it's the Australian people who are unhappy. This government has failed every single objective measure of housing. First home buyers are down, not that we hear from the government about first home buyers. New home approvals are down. New home starts are down. In fact, we see now new homes being built at the lowest level since the Gillard government. At the same time as we have first home buyers down, approvals down, new home starts down and an industry that's really suffering at the moment because of the inaction of this government, we have a government that's determined to bring in 1½ million new migrants over five years with absolutely no idea where those people will live. I think most people in Australia and, indeed, in our chamber support a planned migration system, but the word 'planned' means you've got to know where on earth they're going to live.
Today we see the Labor salvo of this housing agenda, if you call it an agenda, being in absolute tatters. The poor old government, dancing to the tune of the Greens, have magically found $1 billion behind the cushions on the couch. They just found a lazy $1 billion as they were fossicking around, and that got the Greens over the line. Another dirty deal. One wonders why the member, who brought forward this motion, was not out there last week arguing about that extra billion dollars. She's very proud of it now. Where was she a week ago to proclaim the importance of that extra funding?
The truth is we've got a government with absolutely no idea what they're doing on housing. They've got a hapless housing minister with no idea what's going on. We were supposed to have this so-called Help to Buy program commence on 1 January this year. It's 11 September. Where on earth is the Help to Buy program that the government took to the election?
The Housing Australia Future Fund was supposed to have commenced on 1 July. Yet we now see in September they finally cut a deal with the Greens, but it's late and there's absolutely no guarantee of any funding out of that fund. What do we have in exchange? We've got, as the member outlined in her contribution, an extra $2 billion—a blank cheque—that was handed to the states. To all those Australians out there: never fear, the problems have been solved. The Prime Minister did a deal with his state Labor premiers. He handed money over and guess what?