Doorstop Interview – Sydney – Saturday 19 June 2021


SUBJECTS: Government backflip on house price caps for housing schemes.

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS: What’s been confirmed today is that one of the centrepieces of this year’s Budget had a massive flaw in it. Six weeks ago, the government announced their Family Home Guarantee. The problem is they set price caps for that scheme, for what you could buy under that scheme, that were way too low. Obviously, someone forgot to tell the Government that single mums with a couple of kids aren’t looking to buy a one bedroom apartment. If you’re a single mum with a couple of kids, and you’re looking to buy a home, you’re normally looking to buy a two or a three bedroom home. Under this scheme, the government set price caps that were so low that in some parts of the country, there was nothing to buy. 

One of those places was the marginal seat of Bass. This problem has only been exposed because of the great work of a smart young journalist at The Examiner in Launceston. Her name is Ebony Abblitt and the country’s indebted to her for revealing this problem because it’s forced the government to act. Since she published a story exposing this problem, the Labor Party has been pressuring the Government to fix this stuff up. We’ve pressured them in the Parliament, in Estimates, in Consideration in Detail and all the way along they’ve said there is no problem and refused to act. Today they finally caved in and admitted they were wrong and fixed this problem. 

This is the house that changed federal government policy. (See 89 Lawrence Vale Road, South Launceston, Tas 7249). This is a home in South Launceston in Tasmania. If you go on to and you look for a three bedroom home under the price cap of $300,000 in Launceston, this is one of the only ones that you’ll find under the price cap. This is the lounge room in this house. This is the bathroom in this house. In case it’s hard to recognise, that’s the bath and that’s that’s the toilet. This, believe it or not, is the kitchen in this house. There was a massive flaw in this government policy. This house doesn’t even have a floor. This shows the Government stuffed this policy up by setting the price caps too low. On, it says this house is up for sale with the with the banner “renovate or detonate”. It’s a great house if you’re looking for a knockdown rebuild but it’s not the sort of house that you’d want a single mum with a couple of kids to move into. This is the sort of house that Scott Morrison said was right for single mums and kids in Launceston. 

This shows just how hopeless this government is. They couldn’t run a warm bath. They’re great at putting out press releases but they got the detail wrong. I’m glad that they finally backed down and back flipped but frankly, they shouldn’t have stuffed this up in the first place. 

More generally, on housing policy and housing affordability, the fact is, housing affordability has just got worse under this government. It’s got harder and harder and harder to buy a house. It’s harder to buy a house than ever before, it’s harder to rent than ever before, and there are more homeless Aussies today than ever before, and the government’s not doing enough to fix it. So here’s three things that they could do to make things a bit easier.  

Number one, they could work with the state governments to get rid of stamp duty. That’d save people tens of thousands of dollars when they’re buying a home. Second, they could scrap the cap on their First Home Loan Deposit Scheme for people looking to build their first time. We’ve called on the Government to scrap this cap. It would mean many more people would get a helping hand in building their first home. And thirdly, they could build more social housing and more affordable housing. We’ve called on the government to do this in the Budget Reply, we said if we win the next election, we’ll set up the Housing Australia Future Fund that will build 30,000 social and affordable housing homes in its first five years. We shouldn’t have to wait for an election. The Government realises, or at least they should realise, we’ve got a housing crisis here at the moment and they should be acting now. They should be implementing that policy now to build more social and affordable housing. So I call on the Government again, to shed themselves of their ideological objections to this and start building. Thanks very much.