Scott Morrison is “out of touch” with the issue of soaring house prices and rents, the Labor Party has said.
But the Prime Minister pointed to a number of government housing-related measures, including the Housing Guarantee Scheme which allows first-time buyers to buy properties with down payments as low as 5%, as proof that the government took action.
This scheme has been extended to 50,000 places a year, but has drawn criticism as price caps for eligible properties are well below average house prices in a number of capitals, including Sydney and Melbourne.
Watch the 2022 Federal Election on Channel 7 or stream it for free on 7plus >>
Mr Morrison also referred to the Commonwealth Rent Assistance Scheme as helping more than 1.4 million people, and said an additional $2 billion granted to the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation would help to get 29,000 additional units on the market.
“They can partner with the private sector, have access to finance and develop affordable housing through housing estates and apartment developments that are happening across the country,” the Prime Minister said.
He said community housing organizations and cooperation with state governments were working, especially in regional areas.
But Labor campaign spokesman Jason Clare referred to a recent interview with Mr Morrison, in which the Prime Minister encouraged people struggling with paying rent to buy a house.
“There are over two million Australians renting at the moment, the average cost of rent is now $2,000 more this year than 12 months ago… what is Scott Morrison’s response to He says, ‘If you’re struggling to pay rent, buy a house,’ Mr Clare said.
“This guy is so out of touch you’d need the Hubble telescope to find him.”
Mr Clare said more needed to be done to build affordable housing.
“Australians are struggling to pay rent. Many Australians who are struggling to pay rent don’t have $500 in the bank to pay if the washing machine breaks down, let alone enough money for bail,” he said.
“That’s why the Labor Party has a plan – a $10 billion Australian Housing Futures Fund – to build more housing, more affordable housing, for people who need it, like workers in First line.”
National Senate Leader Bridget McKenzie said supply and demand issues were one of the factors behind the lack of affordable housing in the regions.
“We’ve been able to secure 10,000 of our homeownership guarantee packages to people in rural and regional Australia, which…is fantastic because we’ve seen pressure,” she told the National Press. Club.
“As people from the cities head towards us, it has put pressure on our local communities, and we need to work with local government and state governments to address this.”
The Greens have committed $21 billion to build one million affordable homes and want to scrap taxpayer supports for buyers who own two or more investment properties.