Chasing the Aussie dream

HOUSING emerged as one of the hot topics at the Fremantle Candidates Forum on Tuesday evening.

Housing policies from Labor, the Greens and the Coalition promise to make owning a house a less futuristic reality for many residents, while the homelessness issues in Fremantle are constantly in the public eye … with the rising cost of living certainly not helping. 

Labor’s newly proposed shared equity housing scheme Help to Buy aims to assist 10,000 Australians each financial year by cutting down the outlay of buying a home by up to 40 per cent.

Fremantle Labor MP Josh Wilson said “[i]n the electorate of Fremantle, individuals earning up to $90,000 per year, or $120,000 for couples, will be able to access the program for a home costing up to $550,000.”

Think apartments. 

Mortgages

Ultimately, the proposed plan will make smaller deposits, smaller mortgages and smaller repayments a reality for many, though Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison said while that’s worthy, targeted and welcome, a systemic overhaul was required.

Urban Development Institute of Australia’s president Maxwell Shifman added: “It is critical that the detail of the initiative also has safeguards to ensure participating Australians do not find themselves without a home or in financial stress as a result of interest rate rises or economic changes.”  

Greens leader Adam Bandt said he was not satisfied with Labor’s approach to housing. 

“On the housing affordability front, the solution from Labor today won’t even touch the sides,” he said.

Instead, the Greens will push to establish a 20-year Federal Housing Trust, which would build 1 million new publicly owned, social and affordable housing.

It’s far more than Labor and the Coalition are offering and comes with a prediction of 135,000 new construction jobs to help revive Australia’s economy and help reduce homelessness.

By comparison, the Lib-Nats aim to continue to do exactly what they have been doing for the past three years; continue to fund their First Home Super Saver Scheme, HomeBuilder program and Family Home Guarantee schemes which they first launched in 2019. 

A re-elected Coalition government has pledged that it will extend support for first home buyers by more than tripling the number of low deposit guarantees from 10,000 to 35,000 place a year, with as little as a 5 per cent deposit. 

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning professor Nicole Gurran said the Coalition’s housing plan prioritised moderate to high income earners, while potentially forcing low-income earners and first home buyers to take out risky levels of debt.

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