House debates

Thursday, 15 February 2024


Help to Buy Bill 2023, Help to Buy (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2023; Second Reading

12:54 pm

Photo of Gordon ReidGordon Reid (Robertson, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Housing, owning one's home, living in one's own dwelling is a great dream and a great source of pride for many Australians, and in particular for those on the New South Wales Central Coast. However, homeownership throughout Australia and homeownership in my part of the world in Robertson, and even into Dobell and a bit of Shortland—the mighty Central Coast—has been in freefall. That's why I'm glad the Help to Buy Bill 2023 is being introduced to the parliament. We are acting on housing. The federal Labor government sees this as a major issue that's affecting our communities—not just in our cities, but within our regions, within our remote communities, within our rural communities—and that is why we're acting.

Housing isn't the only thing that we're acting on. Many of us on this side of the chamber—when we're talking to the public, when we're doorknocking, when we're phone banking—are frequently acting on many of the issues affecting Australian and also those on the Central Coast. We're helping with the cost of living through our multibillion cost-of-living packages. Through Labor's tax cuts, we are actively giving every Australian taxpayer a tax cut, from nurses to truckies to tradies. You name it, we're all getting a tax cut. We're acting on health through bulk-billing and the urgent care centre scheme. And we are acting on housing through the Help to Buy Scheme, which we're here to talk about today.

Whether it's through this bill, through the Housing Australia Future Fund, which has been repeatedly opposed by the Liberal and the National parties, through the Home Guarantee Scheme helping thousands of Australians into homes or through our record investments into housing, it is pretty clear to me and to members on this side of the chamber, and it's clear to members of the public, that the Albanese Labor government is acting on the housing challenges that we face. When Australians talk about who they can trust to deliver a visionary housing policy that will bring Australia into the future they know that it is the Australian Labor Party. Absolutely! Whether it's housing. Whether it's health. Whether it's education. Whether it's the economy. It is this party that will bring Australia forward.

What does housing do? Housing provides security, housing provides stability and housing provides dignity to people. Like the member for Fisher, I'm also continuing my previous profession. I'm still practising as a doctor in an emergency department. I see a lot of the stresses that are impacting people during often the worst day of their life. And in the ED that I practise in, patients will often speak about the stresses that are not directly linked to the pathology that they're presenting with. They might be coming in because they've injured their arm and got a fracture or they've got a sore throat—you name it; whatever it might be. But more often than not the other social stressor that they're referring to, that is either part of the reason that they have presented or is exacerbating the reason that they presented, is their ability to locate and/or access accommodation or housing. So whether it's patients who don't have the ability to access emergency accommodation or short-term housing options, whether it's a patient's problems with renting or whether housing is one of their biggest stressors outside of their pathology, it's having an impact on their finances, and that is a major thing that people continue to bring up with me.

The reason we're all here is to make sure we can give our regions a voice in this chamber. There are more than 100,000 people in the electorate of Robertson, where housing is a major issue. And because of that, I do want to focus on a few local examples of what's happening with housing and homelessness in my part of the world. But before I do go on to that, I will just reiterate to the chamber that we know from the debate on taxation today, we know from the debate on previous pieces of legislation—the Housing Australia Future Fund; you name it—that the Liberal-National coalition have zero vision for this country. Absolutely zero vision. We know that they have absolutely zero desire to leave a legacy that will benefit Australians and my constituents on the Central Coast. They have no desire to do that adequately and effectively and to meet the challenges of today. Housing is included in those.

Like I said, let's look at some of the local examples, because that's why we're here right now. We're here to give those communities a voice. Many Australians living in Robertson and across the Central Coast need help to get into homeownership. Our government is introducing this bill and providing this support so that thousands of Australians can benefit from homeownership. Recently, I was speaking with Patrick by doorknocking in Umina Beach on the mighty Peninsula on the Central Coast—a beautiful part of the world, where I grew up. Everyone in the chamber is definitely invited to come to the beach and have a beer!


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