Affordable housing an illusion under Labor

Labor’s failure to provide adequate land for development and affordable rental housing is causing more pain for prospective homebuyers and renters, said Shadow Minister for Housing, Senator Marise Payne.

“Home borrowers are already struggling with higher loan servicing costs under Labor and the Government’s failure to build enough affordable rental accommodation has hit renters in the hip-pocket,” Senator Payne said.

“The Rudd-Gillard Government has clearly failed when only five per cent of houses under the National Rental Affordability Scheme have actually been built and especially when rents have risen 17.9 per cent across Australia since the 2007 December quarter.

“Labor also promised to speed up the release of surplus Commonwealth land for new housing but only three sites have been brought to market.

“Housing affordability is already at an all-time low and we have a housing shortage in Australia of 178,400 that is forecast to increase to more than 200,000 in the coming year.”

Senator Payne said that sadly it was no surprise that mortgage delinquencies had increased in the outer suburbs of capital cities like Sydney, when debt servicing costs continued to climb as a result of Labor’s reckless spending.

“It is understandable that some homeowners will fall into arrears when interest rates have risen seven times on Labor’s watch since the end of 2009 and the gap between the Reserve Bank cash rate and the average variable home loan rate has increased to 3 per cent compared with 1.8 per cent under the Coalition Government.

“Labor’s only response is Wayne Swan’s “Clayton’s” banking reforms that disadvantage smaller lenders and do nothing to get home borrowers a better deal.

“This reflects Labor’s lack of a focussed and overarching housing strategy. There is no minister for housing and the portfolio has been shuffled from one department to another.

“Housing is another area that has fallen victim to the “black hole” of COAG reforms, where many well-intentioned plans go in but no results come out the other side.

“We live in hope that the Rudd-Gillard Government can come up with a genuine plan to speed up the release of affordable housing at the February COAG meeting, rather than more reviews and committees.”