Housing not a priority for Labor - Joint release with Kevin Andrews MP

“The Coalition has been increasingly concerned with Labor’s neglect of the housing industry and of key issues affecting Australian families, such as housing affordability and supply. Revelations in today’s Australian confirm just how out of touch and arrogant Labor has become, with confirmation that the government has not even contacted the Real Estate Institute of Australia since forming government” said Kevin Andrews.

“And their lack of industry consultation has meant that this government is so busy fixing problems they created, such as with the foreign investment in residential housing rules, that they’ve totally ignored the real issues, the big picture” Mr Andrews said. “And when they do get around to it, there’s total confusion as to who’s in charge of what, thanks to Ms Gillard’s bizarre decision not to appoint a Minister for Housing. It’s all very convenient for Labor. With no Minister, it seems that Ms Gillard and her government are simply trying to pretend no one is responsible for the emerging housing crisis.”

Senator Payne said: “Labor has also failed to explain why the 2011 National Housing Supply Council State of Supply Report – a key document measuring the housing shortage in Australia – is behind schedule and when it will be released. This report is a key piece of intelligence for governments and private sector developers in the effort to improve housing supply and affordability.

“Residential developers need this report to demonstrate to their international investors that there is sufficient demand to make Australian property a sound investment.

“This important task seems to have been forgotten while Labor was carving up responsibility for housing between three ministers.

“To make matters worse, Labor’s free-spending ways have put pressure on inflation and the cost of living for renters and homeowners, with rents up by 4.2 per cent in 2010, electricity by 12.5 per cent and water and sewerage charges by 12.8 per cent, well above the 2.7 per cent general rate of inflation.

“Homeowners are also paying more for their mortgages, with the gap between the Reserve Bank cash rate and the standard variable mortgage rate increasing from 1.8 per cent under the Howard Government to 3 per cent under Labor.

“Prime Minister Gillard must demonstrate that her government is serious about tackling the worsening shortage of housing and giving all Australians a realistic chance of owning their own homes.”