Bill Shorten commits to helping first home buyers in budget reply
Bill Shorten has made an emotional appeal to first home buyers pledging to remove “bias” in the tax system that was shutting young people out of the housing market.
Current property tax concessions, including negative gearing, were destroying a generation of people’s hopes of getting a home by favouring investors over other buyers, he said in his budget reply speech in parliament tonight.
He reaffirmed Labor’s commitment to restrict negative gearing to investors who purchased new housing if elected and said the current system gave investors a “loaded dice” against young people.
“Getting together a 20 per cent deposit plus stamp duty is so much, much harder than it was 20 or 25 years ago,” the opposition leader said.
“It is even more difficult when your government uses your taxpayer money to subsidise the property investors bidding against you.”
Mr Shorten said his negative gearing rule changes were part of Labor’s plan to “stop intergenerational unfairness in our tax system”.
“A government must be brave enough and decent enough to stop the bias against first home buyers and young Australians and we will be that government,” Mr Shorten said.
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He acknowledged “lectures about cutting back on smashed avo” were patronising to young people.
“You cannot have property investors playing with loaded dice against our young people, Generation Y and the Millennials,” Mr Shorten said.
The property tax reforms would help a Labor government deliver relief for lower paid workers and pour millions into cancer treatment, he added.
The Labor leader’s promises contrasted with the government’s housing stance revealed in budget documents published on Tuesday.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg did not include any major incentives for first home buyers, but said declining investment in the housing sector could detract from real GDP growth.
The risks would be increased if property prices fell much further than they already have, the budget said. Prices have already fallen by more than 10 per cent across Melbourne and Sydney in the year to March. All of the mainland capitals with the exception of Adelaide also recorded falls in prices over the period.
There are also signs Mr Shorten’s policies may not be well understood among first home buyers.
Two thirds of Australians surveyed in a recent JWS Research poll claimed they did not fully understand the proposed changes, but those who did grasp the policy were more likely to be opposed to the reforms than in support of them.
More than half of those polled believed Labor’s policy would push up rents.
Mr Shorten’s budget reply speech also mentioned plans to support build-to-rent schemes where tenants occupy rentals that are not owned by mum and dad landlords.
The schemes would go some way in addressing housing unaffordability, property analysts said. “It’s part of the solution,” SQM Research director Louis Christopher said, adding that the concept was common in Europe.