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Question Time: Government support for First Home Buyers
Ms FLINT (Boothby—Government Whip) (15:18): My question is to the Minister for Housing. Will the minister outline what the government is doing to support workers to achieve their aspirations to own a home? Is the minister aware of any alternative policies?
Mr SUKKAR (Deakin—Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing) (15:19): I thank the member for Boothby for her question. I know that the member for Boothby, as is the Prime Minister—as is every single person on this side of the House—is committed to helping prospective first home buyers get back into the market. The Morrison government has a range of initiatives to support first home buyers who are trying to get onto the property ladder and trying to buy their first home. It’s been very encouraging to see that, since the re-election of the Morrison government, confidence amongst first home buyers—indeed, confidence amongst all buyers—has improved.
We’ve seen green shoots in most of our major markets. Prices have stabilised in most of our capital cities and big population centres. Clearance rates are now up to 70 per cent, from a much lower position not long ago, and confidence on a range of indexes is improving, with the most recent being the ANZ Property Council index, with confidence rising by 13 points. This comes on top of 110,000 first home buyers entering the market in 2018, the highest level since 2009. It’s no accident that that increase in first home buyers in 2018 followed our housing budget in the 2016-17 and 2018-19 budgets. It is delivering for first home buyers.
One of those initiatives was the First Home Super Saver Scheme, which is opposed by the Labor Party. The Labor Party went to the election saying they would abolish the First Home Super Saver Scheme that allows first home buyers a tax cut by salary sacrificing into super. Three-and-a-half-thousand Australians have been assisted in buying their first home with the First Home Super Saver Scheme, yet the Labor Party want to abolish it.
We’re building on that outstanding work with the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which will start from 1 January next year and allow prospective first home buyers to buy a house with a five per cent deposit. After the Prime Minister’s outstanding speech announcing that policy, Senator Kristina Keneally criticised that policy and then, three hours later, the member for McMahon adopted it. We’re very, very pleased that the Labor Party were forced into supporting that policy, because it will allow even more first home buyers.
I’m asked about other policies, by the member for Boothby. The only policies that the Labor Party took to the election with respect to housing was their housing taxes, abolishing negative gearing, doubling capital gains tax, making it harder for first home buyers, pushing up rents. Let’s remember, 30 per cent of people rent, yet the Labor Party had a policy designed to push up rents. So it’s the member for Boothby, it’s the Prime Minister, it’s members on this side of the House who are dedicated to ensuring that we make it easier for first home buyers to get into the property market, and we’re already seeing results.
Please click here for a PDF copy of the Hansard extraction of this speech.