Michael Sukkar MP

Federal Member for Deakin
Assistant Treasurer
Minister for Housing
Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing
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Transcript – 4BC Breakfast with Neil Breen



The Hon Michael Sukkar MP

Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing

Member for Deakin

Transcript

Monday, 18 April 2022

4BC Breakfast with Neil Breen

Topics: Housing market, Home guarantee schemes, Budget 2022, cost-of-living support.

Neil Breen:

Michael Sukkar is the Minister for Housing and the Assistant Treasurer.  Good morning to you, Minister.

Minister Michael Sukkar:

Good morning, Neil.  Thanks for having me.

Neil Breen:

Well one of the big issues I suppose kids and young people getting into houses is an issue, the government is doing what they can to help there but that’s why this interest rate of 0.1 per cent is important because people have taken big mortgages during the pandemic and by the end of the year properties, and the payments on the mortgages, are going to go up.

Minister Sukkar:

Well Neil, there’s no doubt we saw prices rises throughout the country throughout the pandemic and that’s part of the reason why we’ve increased the caps under our Home Guarantee Scheme.  As you said, this is a program we put in place a few years ago that helps first home buyers purchase a home with a deposit of 5 per cent.  They don’t have to save the full 20 per cent deposit and as you also said, they don’t have to pay what can be tens of thousands of dollars in lenders mortgage insurance.  We also have a part of the scheme which enables single parents to purchase a home with a 2 per cent deposit with all of those benefits as well.

What we’ve announced today, again as you’ve said, is an increase in the house price cap for Brisbane from $600,000 to $700,000 and for the remainder of regional Queensland, from $450,000 to $550,000.  So, it takes into account those price rises but it also takes into account really a major expansion of the scheme that we announced in the Budget which was an expansion to 50,000 places a year.

Neil Breen:

Is that nationally? 50,000 nationally?

Minister Sukkar:

Yeah 50,000 nationally every single year.  We’ve assisted about 60,000 people under the scheme already. This is a massive expansion to 50,000 places a year.  We think up to 40 per cent of all first home buyers will end up using this scheme.  It will be a really important thing because the biggest hurdle for getting into the market is getting that deposit together.  Bringing that deposit hurdle down to 5 per cent plus the savings of thousands of dollars of not having to pay lenders mortgage insurance, is the reason why this has been such a popular scheme. Hence why we’ve expanded it and hence why we’ve increased the house price caps.

Neil Breen:

If successful in the Federal election, as the housing minister and you’re the Assistant Treasurer of course as well.  Michael Sukkar housing affordability is going to be one of the biggest issues of the next term.  Because of these increased prices people pay, now with mortgages going up.  The four major banks have all said there’ll be four interest rate rises this year.  We know what that is, that’s a butter-up.  Housing affordability is one of my biggest concerns, I’ve got to say, and I think it’s a big issue for Australia.

Minister Sukkar:

Yeah Neil, there’s no doubt for many, many Australians it’s a front of mind issue, it’s a huge part of what the Government tried to achieve over the last three years and that is we can’t waive the white flag and say that housing affordability is something that we just let get away from us and that was part of the reason why we put in place the HomeBuilder program, why we put in place the Home Guarantee Scheme.  Counterintuitively, Neil, in a period where we’ve seen really rapid house price growth, we’ve now got first home buyers at their highest level for nearly fifteen years.  You wouldn’t have expected to see that during this period, and this is because we have had a sustained series of programs to support first home buyers.  This is not an area where you can set and forget and say, ‘job done’. There’s a lot of work to be done and we’ll continue to focus on it.  We’ve got first home buyers at fifteen-year highs.  I’d like to get that to 20 and 30- and 40-year highs and that’s what we’ll be working towards achieving.

Neil Breen:

We’ve seen that – polls are polls – but we have seen a poll today that’s pretty good for you and pretty bad for Labor after Anthony Albanese’s shocking first week to the campaign. Have you got any internal polling that matches that poll out today that shows that you’re in with a big chance of winning again?

Minister Sukkar:

Look, Neil, people such as yourself can comment on polls, I think you’re much more qualified than I am to comment on them.

Neil Breen:

I wouldn’t think so.  I think you have more access to polling than me.

Minister Sukkar:

Basically, Neil, I think the main point of what we’ve seen thus far in the campaign is a Labor party, an opposition and an Opposition Leader who are woefully unprepared.  They’ve put no focus on the economy.  We put down a very detailed Budget that delivered on cost-of-living pressures, that kept the foot on the economic accelerator, that ensured that we would continue to create jobs and drive down unemployment, with a really detailed plan.  From the Labor party we’ve seen none of that with seemingly an opposition leader who is disinterested with economics, disinterred with the bread-and-butter issues that most families face.  I think he’s been found out on the campaign trail with that disinterest and with that lack of knowledge and ability. As you say, Neil, there are certainly going to be difficult times ahead.  There’s uncertainty throughout the world and now is the time – in our view – that we need to stick to the economic plan and the stewardship of the Government which has seen Australia lead the economic recovery but also recognise the pressures at home and deliver cost of living relief which the Labor Party described as a cash splash.  So, they’re out of touch and just really don’t have a grasp of economics and that’s what we’ve seen from the opposition leader last week.

Neil Breen:

Michael Sukkar, Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer, thanks for your time this morning.