Property

'Boost affordable housing measures'

TAX breaks for housing investors - worth $5 billion over five years - should be abolished to help fund an $8.5 billion national program to improve housing affordability around Australia, according to Australians for Affordable Housing.

A campaign to create more affordable housing, led by AAH manager Sarah Toohey, has called for all state, territory and federal housing ministers to consider boosting measures to build more affordable housing.

The proposal, to create a new $1.4 billion fund to build at least 20,000 new low-cost rental properties each year, was released today.

The plan also includes a doubling of the existing national rental affordability scheme, to the tune of $1.1 billion over five years.

To fund the majority of the changes, Ms Toohey said, the two levels of government would need to change negative gearing and capital gains tax breaks as well as abolish stamp duty.

"Housing is the single biggest household cost in Australia and, over the last 25 years, housing costs have been taking a bigger bite of our household budgets - up as a proportion of spending by 41% in that time," she said.

"By contrast, we actually spend slightly less on energy bills than we did in 1984.

"Yet, while we hear increasing outrage about the burdens of power bills, political parties are not calling for similar action on our housing affordability crisis."

Ms Toohey also called for a Productivity Commission review of the Commonwealth Rent Assistance program and increasing the allowance to about $27 a week, costing the government $6 billion over five years.

Housing ministers from all states and territories will join Federal Minister Brendan O'Connor to discuss housing programs in a Council of Australian Governments meeting in Perth on Friday.

But while such proposals may be discussed during the meeting, they do not form part of the official agenda.

Housing Affordability Proposals:

  • Establish a fund for at least 20,000 new low-income rental properties each year. Cost: $1.4 billion over five years.
  • Double the number of property incentives under the National Rental Affordability Scheme. Cost: $1.1 billion over five years.
  • Change the tax breaks for housing investors, like negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts. Saving: $5 billion over five years.
  • Increase the current maximum rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance to between $22 and $27 per week. Cost: $6 billion over five years.
  • Help state governments to abolish stamp duty and introduce a broad-based land tax.

Topics:  housing


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