House debates

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Statements by Members

Housing Affordability

1:30 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

For many Australians, the dream of home ownership remains completely out of reach. Today only four in 10 25- to 34-year-olds own a home, compared to six in 10 in 1982. Why? There are a number of reasons, but one is the fact that the Turnbull government gives a tax break to people buying their second, third, fourth and fifth homes but no assistance to young Australians trying to buy their first home. It costs the budget more than $10 billion a year and almost half of this benefit goes to the highest 10 per cent of income earners. It has helped growth in property prices to outstrip growth in people's incomes in a way that low interest rates could never offset.

To add insult to injury, all too often young people's aspiration for home ownership is met with condescension from their government and from baby boomers in general. They are frequently told that, if they want a house, they should stop eating smashed avocados on toast or stop buying coffees. To put down a deposit on a typical house in Footscray, in my electorate, you would need to forgo about 38,000 coffees or 150 years worth of weekly smashed avocado brunches. It is a nonsense. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, generation Y already spend less on food and recreation and much more on housing than their equivalents did in 1989.

Labor has a plan to fix negative gearing in a way that will both help to reduce the deficit and help young Australians to buy their first home. That is budget repair that is fair.