Government must not miss the opportunity for real housing reform

Shelter WA is urging the Federal Government not to waste the chance to reform the tax treatment of housing, which would ensure more Australians could access affordable housing.

 

Responding to a speech the Treasurer Scott Morrison made today (10 April, 2017), Shelter WA spokesperson Stephen Hall said he was disappointed there would be no movement on negative gearing and capital gains tax.

“There is no evidence that curbing tax concessions would raise rents,” Mr Hall said.

“In reality there are many would-be owners living in rental accommodation who are putting upward pressure on rents.

 “The Treasurer is right to focus on renters but wrong not to consider adjustments to tax concessions for investors.”

The Treasurer also commented on the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) and said Australia did not need to spend more.

Mr Hall said Shelter WA welcomes the opportunity for strategic NAHA reform and sees this as an opportunity to separate the NAHA into two funding streams:

Operational funding for existing supply – this operational fund would be an indexation of current funding for housing and homelessness to ensure that current supply of affordable housing is maintained.

Growth funding for net new additional supply – this growth fund would be dedicated to expanding new supply of affordable housing.  This growth fund would assist in building the capacity of WA’s community housing sector, and as a leverage tool to catalyse reform in land, tax and planning reforms.  The Fund could also support more institutional investors to deliver net new additional affordable housing supply over time.

“Any reform of NAHA must ensure the critical funding requirements for family and domestic violence and homelessness services are maintained, and that the housing needs of the most vulnerable people are considered,” Mr Hall said

Shelter WA is calling for a national housing and homelessness plan led by the Commonwealth, in partnership with jurisdictions throughout Australia and the community sector.

"We welcome the discussions on a bond aggregator,” Mr Hall said.

“However, we need a national plan to coordinate all governments to lift investment in social and affordable housing; reduce inefficient and ineffective taxes, including stamp duties; improve our planning systems and eliminate social housing waiting lists and homelessness.

"Only the Commonwealth can lead a national strategy.”

Shelter WA promotes social and affordable housing and works towards the elimination of homelessness.

 

ENDS

 

Media Contact – Stephen Hall, Shelter WA, 0408 426 263