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Housing affordability demands a bi-partisan approach


“The heightened debate in Federal Parliament about housing affordability is welcomed but Master Builders calls for a bi-partisan and rational approach, one that must also involve state and territory governments,” Wilhelm Harnisch CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“As properly identified by the Treasury and the Reserve Bank, at the core of the housing affordability challenge is the lack of supply in meeting the demands of a growing population and changing demographic housing needs,” he said.

“Policy makers at all levels need to implement structural reforms to boost housing supply if they are serious about improving housing affordability,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“The recent establishment of various inquiries is very welcome by industry, but to be effective they need to tackle the nub of the problem,” he said.

“Increasing the housing supply is the only effective way to exert downward pressure on house prices by making sure supply can keep up with demand, this is fundamentally ‘Economics 101’ “, Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“One of the principal reforms must be more efficient and streamlined state and local government planning and approvals processes and the cutting of excessive infrastructure charges,” he said.

“Master Builders is calling for the return of federal national competition policy payments to state and territory governments for targeted and permanent structural reforms that removes the current unnecessary regulatory blockages that holds back and inflates the cost of housing supply,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“The recent Harper Review of Competition Policy recognised that there is a proper role for competition payments and Master Builders has put the case to both the Harper Review and the Federal Government that they should be used for accelerating structural reform especially at local government level,” he said.

“Master Builders also reinforced the need for this reform to Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas as chair of the housing affordability working party announced by the Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey at the recent Council on Federal Financial Relations,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“Home ownership is a cornerstone of wellbeing for Australian households and the major vehicle to grow their wealth and sense of independence. This cornerstone policy is a fundamental underpinning of Australia’s way of life,” he said.

“Boosting the supply of both private and public housing is essential to ensure more Australians can have access to appropriate and affordable housing; structural reform is the answer and not removing negative gearing,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

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