House debates

Thursday, 30 November 2023


Cost of Living, Housing

4:30 pm

Photo of Shayne NeumannShayne Neumann (Blair, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Albanese Labor government is focusing on matters that people in my electorate are concerned about. Our No. 1 priority remains addressing cost-of-living challenges. I know a lot of people are doing it tough locally, especially when it comes to the cost of housing and finding a place to stay. That's why we're delivering $23 billion in responsible targeted relief, while not putting upward pressure on inflation and interest rates and making it easier for people to pay off their mortgages.

The evidence shows our policies are working. Yesterday's monthly CPI indicator shows inflation moderating to 4.9 per cent over the 12 months to October, down from 5.6 per cent in September. In a statement, the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed that the government's policies are playing a key role in moderating monthly inflation. For example, without the largest increase to Commonwealth rent assistance in 30 years, the ABS says that rent would have gone up 8.3 per cent in the year to date, not 6.6 per cent. These are encouraging results, but I know many constituents are under the pump and still doing it tough, so we're trying to make it easier for people to break into the housing market, as well as building more social and affordable housing and providing more support for renters.

This week, the Albanese Labor government took another step forward in delivering the most significant housing reforms in a generation with the introduction of our Help to Buy shared equity scheme legislation. This is life changing. It brings homeownership back into the reach of 40,000 Australian households. That's 10,000 applicants per year. They're capped by location and price. For example, in the capital city and regional cities in my home state of Queensland, they're capped at $650,000, and, in the rest of the state of Queensland, they're capped at $500,000. This will include many electors in my electorate, particularly renters who otherwise wouldn't be able to buy a house. Similar schemes have operated in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, where they run their own similar shared equity scheme.

Under the federal government's scheme, the government will support eligible homebuyers with an equity contribution of up to 40 per cent for new homes and 30 per cent for existing homes, beginning in 2024. Homebuyers will just need a minimum of two per cent deposit of the house price, and that's the house price I referred to earlier. They will have lower ongoing repayments, saving hundreds every month on their mortgage. Eligibility for individuals will be up to $90,000 a year. For couples, it will be $120,000 a year, and that includes so many in my electorate. It won't just be a leg-up into homeownership with savings from a small deposit; it'll be long-term relief to homeowners in Blair, whether they're living in Spring Mountain, Springfield Central, Redbank Plains, Brassall, Raceview, Lowood or Fernvale.

The Albanese Labor government has already helped more than 86,000 people across Australia into homeownership since the election, through the expanded Home Guarantee Scheme, including 13,000 through the new Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee, making it easier to buy a home. Recent data shows more than 2,600 homebuyers in the Ipswich region in my electorate have taken advantage of this scheme since May last year, which is one of the highest rates of take-up nationally.

The Help to Buy scheme will mean more local residents can have the opportunity to achieve the great Australian dream of homeownership. That's why it's disappointing and inexplicable that the Greens political party have teamed up with the coalition, who claim they're in support of homeownership, to delay this scheme by five months. Ipswich is one of the fastest growing regions in the country, and a lot of young families moving into that area are in search of more affordable housing, so this scheme will make a big difference to people in Ipswich.

The Greens political party is all rhetoric and no action. Don't look at what they say; look at how they actually vote. It is a shame that the Greens have done this.

Recently, under the Albanese government's $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator, the Palaszczuk government has received more than $398 million to build 600 homes across the state. This will speed up the rollout of dozens of social housing projects in Ipswich and homes across surrounding areas, like the Somerset Region, the Lockyer Valley and the Scenic Rim. It'll add to the Queensland government's public housing projects underway in places such as Booval, North Ipswich and Redbank Plains. It will help build more of the rental homes I know our region needs. This is on top of the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, which commenced 1 November and will deliver 30,000 social and affordable rental homes in the fund's first five years.