House debates

Monday, 18 March 2024

Private Members' Business

Home Guarantee Scheme

2:45 pm

Photo of Alison ByrnesAlison Byrnes (Cunningham, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That this House:

(1) acknowledges that:

(a) the Government's expanded Home Guarantee Scheme has now supported more than 100,000 people into home ownership since the election, bringing home ownership back into reach;

(b) almost one in three first home buyers in 2022-23 were supported by the scheme, a significant increase from the previous year under the former Government;

(c) the Government delivered on its commitment to introduce the new Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee three months ahead of schedule in October 2022, and it has assisted more than 15,000 people across regional Australia into home ownership; and

(d) the Government has also expanded eligibility of the Home Guarantee Scheme to help more Australians who were locked out under the previous Government into home ownership;

(2) notes that:

(a) the Government wants to provide even more support for people to own their home through the Help to Buy scheme, which is due to start later this year following the passage of state legislation; and

(b) Help to Buy will support eligible home buyers with an equity contribution of up to 40 per cent for new homes and 30 per cent for existing homes, with eligible buyers needing as little as a 2 per cent deposit to buy a home; and

(3) further notes that the Home Guarantee Scheme and Help to Buy are just two parts of the Government's broad and ambitious housing agenda, with the Government committing funding of $25 billion in new housing investments over the next decade including committed funding to support thousands of new social and affordable rentals, with many already under construction.

There is no denying Australia is in the midst of the housing crisis. That is why we are taking action and putting in place short-, medium- and long-term plans to tackle the challenges left behind after a decade of little action by those opposite.

In July 2023, Business Illawarra launched the report Solutions to the affordable housing crisis in the Illawarra Shoalhaven, which highlighted what we all knew: this is not just a problem that is confined to the capital cities. Executive Director Adam Zarth described the property boom within the Illawarra as being great news for investors and property owners but terrible news of first home buyers, renters, low-paid workers and the many employers who rely upon them. You don't have to look too far to see this reinforced in the pages of our IllawarraMercury, painting a distressing picture of what is all too common and familiar in our regions. People work hard. They have a reliable income and have been good tenants who pay on time. Still, through circumstances they cannot control, they have become victims of the untenable housing situation in the Illawarra.

How we house Australians is at the forefront of my mind and at the forefront of the mind of this government. That's why we have committed $25 billion in new housing investments over the next decade. This includes the single biggest investment in social and affordable housing in more than a decade, with the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund. It is now established, and the first round of applications closes this week. Last month, I was pleased to welcome Housing Australia CEO Nathan Dal Bon to the electorate to host an information session with our community housing providers, builders and developers on the details of the program.

On top of this, the Albanese Labor government's expanded Home Guarantee Scheme has supported more than 100,000 people into homeownership since the election, including over 1,500 people in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands. The scheme—comprised of the First Home Guarantee, the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee and the Family Home Guarantee—helps eligible homebuyers secure finance sooner, through government support and deposits of as little as two to five per cent. We know that the family home and the structure inside it may look very different to how it did when I was a child. It is imperative that governments can adapt policies to keep up with a changing society. That is why, last July, we opened up the First Home Guarantee and the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee to joint applications between friends and family members, not just single, married or de facto applicants.

The CoreLogic Regional market update for February 2024 revealed that average housing prices have increased by 44 per cent over the last five years. In the early 1990s, it would take the average Australian about seven years to save for a deposit for a typical dwelling; now it takes almost 12 years to save the same amount. That's why we introduced legislation to establish a national shared-equity scheme, called Help to Buy. Eligible participants will only need a two per cent deposit for Help to Buy, and the cost of a mortgage will be reduced by up to 40 per cent for low- and middle-income earners. We know that many renters could maintain a mortgage but can't afford the deposit. This will help more Australians get over the hurdle of a deposit and enjoy ongoing savings thanks to smaller repayments.

Standing in the way are the Liberals and the Greens political parties, delaying real progress and hurting real people. The HAFF was held up for six months whilst those opposite procrastinated. Every day of delay meant more Australians without a roof over their head. Mandy Booker, the formidable CEO of the Wollongong homeless hub, invited politicians who had blocked the HAFF to join her frontline staff and explain to the 13 children currently in crisis accommodation and the 57 children in transitional accommodation why they do not have a home to go to.

To those opposite, I say: stop standing in the way of vital support which will help renters into the security of homeownership. The Albanese Labor government have a mandate to deliver this critical new support, and we know that it will be life changing for tens of thousands of Australians. Addressing the housing crisis is part of our larger agenda to make sure that no-one is left behind or forgotten.

On 1 July this year, Labor will deliver a tax cut for every Australian taxpayer. We want Australians to earn more and keep more of what they earn. The changes mean all 13.6 million taxpayers will receive a tax cut—2.9 million more than would have benefited from Scott Morrison's plan five years ago.


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