House debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024


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

11:52 am

Photo of Tony PasinTony Pasin (Barker, Liberal Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) Share this | Hansard source

Yes, put a call in to the PM! What happens, as you heard asked by the Manager of Opposition Business, if at some point your income exceeds the threshold of $90,000, or $120,000 for a couple, thanks to pay rises or other things? What happens when the property is sold? What happens if the price of the property falls? Are we going to be forced into selling homes? Will this Help to Buy scheme become a force-to-sell scheme? I would really like to know where these 40,000 places will be. What percentage of them will be in regional Australia, for example, or regional South Australia particularly? These are all questions that are unanswered. I think it unreasonable that the Australian people be asked to spend $5.5 billion on this niche program without those details to hand.

With respect, the minister should spend her time focused on supply. Can I tell you what's happened in the last 14 months? Housing starts have almost stopped in this country. As the member for Barker, I'm privileged to represent areas home to the radiata pine industry. That industry is principally about structural timber, and that structural timber goes into the frames and trusses of the homes around this country. I get a very early lead indicator of what's happening in terms of housing starts across the country because I drive past timber mills on a very regular basis and I see what's happening to their stock and inventory. I can tell you right now that they're running out of space to stack the timber. Why? Because there's no demand for it. Why is there no demand for it? There's no demand for it because housing starts have stopped.

We've got a minister over here fixated on a policy that Labor promised in an attempt to hoodwink the Australian people to deliver them to government. While she acknowledges that it's all about supply, supply, supply—because that's what all of the peak bodies in this portfolio space are telling her—she's fixated on delivering a policy which is all about driving demand up. Demand's not the problem. There are more Australians that want a home than can get into a home. Newsflash: supply is the problem. That's why the price of housing is going up to unaffordable levels. That's why Australians can't afford to rent. We need to get more stock onto the market, and you're not going to do that with a help-to-buy scheme, particularly when you already have those schemes all around the country and many of them are 90 per cent undersubscribed.

Please, minister, focus on supply. Roll out the supply this country needs so that we can maintain ourselves as a property-owning democracy. Don't focus on these niche programs; help people to get into homes. Drive down the cost of living. Get on and do your job.


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