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

Absolutely, member for Riverina! After living with his parents for all of his life, Patrick would like to buy a property of his own. He wants to live independently. Patrick is struggling to afford to buy on the Central Coast, as property prices are rising and have increased substantially, not just in the last decade but in decades prior. He would like to buy in Gosford, an up-and-coming major metropolitan centre on the Central Coast, or in the adjacent suburbs. Patrick is saving. Patrick is working hard at multiple jobs in order to get a good deposit together. But he needs a little bit of help to get across the line. He needs a little bit of help to buy his home. This policy will assist Patrick in buying his first home.

On the northern end of my electorate—which borders that of the member for Dobell—in the beautiful suburb of Wamberal, Lily, another young member of my community, has spoken to me about her journey of realising her dream of homeownership. Like Patrick, Lily is looking to purchase somewhere on the Central Coast. She would like to be close to her family, her place of work, her friends and the things she that knows best, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Like Patrick, Lily has worked hard for all of her working life. She's studied, she's paid her taxes, and she can't wait to own her own home. She was even saying that she can't wait to style it, furnish it and make it her own, for herself and her family. She's saving a deposit, much like Patrick is, but, again, Lily just needs a bit of help to buy and to get across that line. Through our Help to Buy scheme, Lily will be provided with additional support so she can go on to purchase her home in the region.

It's absolutely crucial that Australians get their foot in the door and realise, as I said earlier, that great Australian dream of owning a home. Owning a home has many advantages, as I've said. It provides stability, peace of mind, security and dignity, and it's also essential so that people can live healthy, happy and productive lives. But—as I said—concerningly, the issue of housing affordability has reached new heights on the Central Coast. Our region has made the list of top 10 places in New South Wales with the greatest number of homeless people, and the analysis by Homelessness NSW of figures produced by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shines a light on the importance for all levels of government, whether local, state or federal, of really working towards and making a concerted effort at increasing assistance for people looking to access housing. That's what I was talking about before. We are investing billions of dollars into housing in this country to make sure that those people I was talking about, who are sitting in the emergency department or who come into our electorate offices, can get the emergency accommodation they need. It's to make sure that renters are getting a fair go through the state government. It's to make sure that the Housing Australia Future Fund is benefiting Australians—which it is and we know it is. There is also the first home buyer scheme, and now this, the Help to Buy Bill. This is a government that is serious about housing and serious about making sure people can get into the accommodation that they need, because it's the right thing to do.

We debate a lot of policy in this chamber and there's a lot of jest and a lot of heckling on occasion, but I believe that we—members on this side of the House—all know in our heart of hearts that housing is one of the most important areas of legislation that we will ever debate in this chamber. Making sure that people have a roof over their head is so paramount for people's physical health, mental health and beyond.

What I've been talking about has been the driving force behind why the federal Labor government passed the Housing Australia Future Fund legislation last year, to ensure that we can build 30,000 social and affordable homes through the Housing Australia Future Fund. We're also making sure that we are earmarking some of those properties for people that really need it in at-risk groups, whether it be women in low-income brackets—which is one of the fastest-growing groups of homeless people throughout our country, particularly on the Central Coast—people escaping domestic violence, our veterans community or those of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

It's critical that governments at all levels consider every instrument available to them to increase the supply of housing across the nation, and that is what we are doing today. That is why we are debating this bill, because it is the right thing to do, it was an election commitment and now we are making good on it. As Regional Development Australia Central Coast, the RDACC, said, 'All governments need to get serious about creating more affordable housing on the Central Coast.' That is exactly what we are doing here today. We are making it easy for people to buy their first home, we are making sure that we are building more social and affordable housing and we are working with the states and territories, including the new Minns New South Wales government, to reduce red tape and increase housing approvals right across the country.

In summary, the bill that is being debated today in the parliament is one of the signature pieces of legislation from the federal Labor government. This bill shows not only that we are a government who help those that need it but also that we are a government of vision, because that's what Labor governments are. We develop policy and programs that will help thousands, if not millions, of people into the future. Whether it's housing, with the Help to Buy Bill, whether it's the Medicare urgent care clinic, where you can see a bulk-bill doctor if you're too sick for the GP but not sick enough for the emergency department, whether it's the tripling of the bulk-billing incentive, whether it's the change of the DPA status for the Central Coast, whether it is acting on the cost of living through our cheaper early childhood education and care policies, or whether it's Labor's tax cuts giving every Australian taxpayer a tax cut, that is the job of Labor governments. We are visionary and we do what's right—and that's what this bill is all about.


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