5 Jul | '2024

This Labor government is all talk and no action. They’re spouting and spinning about what a great two years it’s been under Labor, but it hasn’t been a great two years, and Australians know it. It’s been a train wreck. We’ve seen 12 interest rate rises and watched on as Australia’s housing crisis just got worse and worse. The latest inflation data shows that housing costs are up by 12 per cent. That means a family with a $750,000 mortgage, which is the average, is paying an extra $35,000 a year. That’s a lot of money.
Renters are also experiencing their highest increase since 2009. Gold Coasters have been hit hardest by this rental crisis. Only last week the Gold Coast was ranked as the worst affected by price hikes in Queensland. A fresh analysis shows weekly rent on the Gold Coast has increased by about $363 across houses and units combined, from June 2020 to June 2024. In my electorate of Moncrieff, it’s been reported that rent is 47 per cent of the average income. Meanwhile, the median unit price is also out of reach, with households to fork out more than 30 per cent of their income.

Housing has become unaffordable for the average Australian worker under this government’s watch. Despite the government’s spin about building more homes, the figures show us that new build approvals are on the decline across the country. The ABS data reveals that the total number of building approvals for residential dwellings fell by 0.3 per cent to 13,078. So I ask the government: where are all these promised new houses coming from?

State and federal Labor governments continue to sit idly by whilst young families are being forced out onto the street. Young families are pitching tents in the park. This is happening in my electorate on the Gold Coast. Single mothers and their children are being forced to live in caravan parks. Young people are sleeping rough in cars or couch surfing.

Whilst there are many incredible crisis accommodation programs, they can only do so much to support the increase in homelessness. Youth foyers are one of the many support services available for young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. I’ve visited a number of youth foyers in my capacity as shadow minister for youth. I’ve seen firsthand how they are changing the lives of young people who have nowhere else to go. But, like many other housing support services, they cannot help every person who reaches out.

Australians want real action on housing. My own community, after 10 long years under Palaszczuk government neglect, has resorted to doing our own fundraising for Gold Coasters doing it tough through the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. We raised over $600,000 in June to establish a 60-unit apartment building in Nerang. I thank those members in Moncrieff, in my federal division or council, for helping me fundraise $8,500 towards that.

I ask those opposite: Do you have an actual plan that will deliver more housing for families? Is your plan to target negative gearing and punish homeowners with an outcome of depleting the rental pool even further? Any move to abolish negative gearing would be a blow to Aussie battlers and would have an adverse impact on household savings and housing affordability. Its abolition would lead to serious negative flow-on effects in housing affordability for renters and for homeowners. To even consider this as an option, in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis caused by this government and a housing crisis caused by this government, is absolute madness.

In contrast, there is only one party that actually delivers real housing solutions. I stand by our record. There were record levels of homebuyers under the coalition. There were higher numbers of home builds under the coalition. There were higher numbers of approvals under the coalition, and there were significantly lower rents. Think back two years.

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 11:59 to 12:06

Ms BELL: During our last three years in government the coalition’s housing policy supported more than 300,000 Australians to buy a home. We saw the highest level of first home buyers in 15 years. We also supported the establishment of more than 21,000 social and affordable homes through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation. Should we be successful at the next election, the coalition has committed to implementing a two-year ban on foreign investors and temporary residents purchasing existing new homes in Australia. We’ll also reduce the permanent migration program by 25 per cent, and this will help free up housing for our own Australians before we increase migration.

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