Michael Sukkar MP

Federal Member for Deakin
Shadow Minister for Social Services
Shadow Minister for the NDIS
Shadow Minister for Housing
Shadow Minister for Homelessness
image description

Interview with Tom Connell – Sky News Australia






Wednesday 22 May, 2024

TOPICS: Migration and Housing


Tom Connell: A big part, of course, of the Opposition’s Budget reply so far has been to further curb immigration. It is set to reduce under Labor the Coalition says it would be too high. Joining me live is Shadow Housing Minister Michael Sukkar. For more on this and a few areas in his portfolio. On immigration, I mean, the Coalition is talking about this being a major part of while you’ll make housing more attainable. Is that sort of throwing your hands up and saying supply’s too hard to increase, are just going to leave that up to the states?

Michael Sukkar: No, Tom, the truth is that the industry even running at full tilt would never be able to build as many homes as this Government is bringing in through its record high migration program. We actually have a a pretty good, by international standards, number of homes built per capita, but this Government’s brought in nearly a million people over two years. There’s no way you could build those houses, let alone under this government we’re building fewer houses. Where in that same time of bringing in a million migrants, built just 265,000 homes. You don’t need to be a genius to work out that those maths don’t work, Tom. So where we’re realistic and the truth is that under our plan, there will be at least 100,000 homes made available through lower migration. Sure, housing is a main component of it, but I think Australians are saying more broadly the ramifications of an unsustainable migration program under this Government and quite frankly, Tom, in response to our budget in reply. I think the battlelines have been drawn for the next election. The Labor Party will stand for higher migration and fewer houses and we stand for lower migration and more houses for Australians.

Tom Connell: I’m not sure that we putting on an election poster, but maybe you’ll be able to frame it that way. The Coalition headline policies so far that I see are well, migration has a big effect on it, you hope, as you alluded to and also accessing super. Are we going to see something significant and a really big spend of money for actually creating more supply from the Coalition?

Michael Sukkar: Well, those two policies that you’ve outlined, Tom are major policies, I mean, being able to free up 100,000 homes is quite a remarkable thing and it’s a hard decision, by the way, reducing migration. There’s a lot of vested interests who don’t like it, but we think on the side of Australians and of course access to super, which was a policy that I put together before the last election we recommitted to and reaffirmed to is a huge policy to give first home buyers up to $50,000 of their own super to put towards their savings for a deposit to turbo charge.

Tom Connell: But that’s not supply, is it?

Michael Sukkar: Sure. And to get to your your question. Sorry to filibuster, Tom. We will have a lot to say about supply. The truth is, under this Government, we’ve had supply down, fewer homes built than the previous Coalition government, fewer first time buyers. And worryingly, we’ve got lower approvals Tom, which means over the next 12 to 18 months, fewer homes will be built even in the last 12-18.

Tom Connell: So supply announcements that we can perhaps hear – the filibustering on First Edition, they’re a bit tighter with me here. They say I’ve got to keep things punchy, so I’m jumping in. Don’t mind me. So, on the super policy that policy as is, how many people would you estimate would be eligible when that comes in in the first year of a Coalition government, how many people would suddenly be having that extra money to be able to enter the market or try to?

Michael Sukkar: Well, we think about 40 per cent of first time buyers would seek to access it. And at the moment we’ve got record low first time buyers. But over the long term average you’re talking tens of thousands of people. So, we want it to be available to as many people as possible. This idea from the Labor Party that the way you deal with housing is to have first time buyers with less money in their pocket. First time buyers with less money for a deposit, is quite a remarkable claim that they make. We want first time buyers to compress the period it takes to save that deposit. We know the deposit hurdle is a huge challenge. The former Coalition government, when I was Housing Minister put in place the Home Guarantee scheme, which enables people now to buy a home with a 5 per cent deposit, that’s helping one in three first time buyers. We would hope that people would know that the two schemes together use the home guarantee scheme and use their superannuation. We want as many first home buyers to qualify as possible, but it’ll be tens of thousands in the first year.

Tom Connell: Tens of thousands, okay. Just very quickly on that, would you be open if the modeling suggests that everyone entering at the same time pushes up prices too much – Would you be open to sort of capping it to a certain number each year, perhaps to make it a a policy that economists might agree with a bit more?

Michael Sukkar: Well, no. The way it’s structured at the moment, Tom, is that you will have people progressively enter. The truth is this is a measure to help people supplement their savings. So it’s not a policy that the entire deposit will be necessarily what you withdraw from super. It will supplement your savings that you’ve got outside of super because at the moment the only way you save for a deposit of these outside of super.

Tom Connell: Obviously in that first year there’s a, yeah, there’s a big number in there. All right. So no not capping it. Just wanted to clarify that. We’re out of time.