Anthony Albanese parliament dispatch box speaking
Anthony Albanese announced the Fund during his budget reply speech. Image – Parliament House, Canberra.
  • $10B will include 20,000 new homes being built over the next five years, if Labor is elected
  • 4,000 will be social houses for women and children fleeing domestic violence
  • Property Council welcomes the announcement, but warns against any changes to negative gearing

Last night the Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese, tabled his response to the Federal Government’s 2021-22 Budget, which included his proposal for a large fund dedicated towards social and affordable housing.

Along with criticisms of Tuesday evening’s speech and announcing new Labor policies, Mr Albanese specifically announced that an Albanese Labor Government would create a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund.

“The security of a roof over one’s head should be available to all Australians, “ said Mr Albanese in his reply speech.

“The home I grew up in gave [my mum and I] so much more than somewhere to sleep. It gave us pride, dignity and security, and it gave me a future.”

“Young people despair about whether they will ever afford a first home. Families struggle to meet rent payments and older women are the fastest growing group subject to homelessness.”

Anthony Albanese, Leader of the Opposition

Under Labor’s proposal, the scheme will build 20,000 social housing properties over the next five years with 4,000 of those exclusive to women and children fleeing domestic violence or older women at risk of homelessness.

Additionally, 10,000 affordable houses would be built for the “heroes of the pandemic” such as police, nurses and cleaners.

21,500 full-time jobs are expected to be created by the program during the first five years, with one in ten direct employees being apprentices.

Though the federal budget was well received, many criticised the Government for not directly including significant funding towards housing, Kate Colvin from the Everybody’s Home campaign was one such critic.

“Stable housing is absolutely vital for people who have suffered serious setbacks such as family violence, unemployment, or ill-health… unfortunately, the government has missed an opportunity to invest in the potential of our people,” said Ms Colvin.

PCA tick of approval

The Property Council of Australia (PCA) Chief Executive, Ken Morrison, has welcomed the Fund

“Housing affordability is a dire issue for Australia and the Housing Australia Future Fund is an innovative approach to house less fortunate Australians,” Mr Morrison said.

“We need greater supply across the entire housing spectrum, and this investment would certainly be welcome by the industry.”

However, he expressed disappointment in the speech not ruling out changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax arrangements – something that both sides of politics acknowledged was as a factor in Bill Shorten’s 2019 surprise federal election loss.

“Changing current negative gearing or CGT arrangements would be the wrong policy, at the wrong time and have a perverse impact on housing affordability,” Mr Morrison said.

“Deloitte Access Economics analysis found that Labor’s negative gearing and capital gains tax policies, taken to the last two elections, would have shrunk the economy by $1.5 billion.”

“It is estimated that this policy would inflict a $766 million hit on construction, cost 7,800 construction jobs, and shave $1.5 billion off GDP just when we need to focus on recovery and employment opportunities.”

Ken Morrison, Executive Director PCA

With housing affordability likely to become a key issue during the upcoming election, time will tell whether the Coalition is committed to matching Labor’s promise.

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