From JJJ’s Hack radio program comes the above extract of a segment aired yesterday on housing policy, which featured Labor Senator Doug Cameron and the Liberal’s Marise Payne.
When asked why the Government won’t look at abolishing negative gearing, Senator Doug Cameron responded:
“Negative gearing is a huge issue that is raised with me continually. The Government is not committing to deal with negative gearing at this time. But there are a range of issues that we will have to look at. And maybe negative gearing will have to come into that mix in the future. But zoning, infrastructure costs, excessive regulation, outdated planning policies, and transaction taxes, as well as negative gearing – these are all issues that we will have to look at”.
While I obviously agree with all of the supply-side issues that Senator Cameron raises, I was pleasantly surprised to hear him admit that negative gearing was an issue and that it would need to be dealt with in the future. This is a big step-up from past scare campaigns by both sides that abolishing negative gearing would lead to massive rental shortages and escalating rents.
In a similar vein, Radio National today has run a segment outlining similar issues, featuring Joel Pringle from Australians for Affordable Housing and the Property Council’s Peter Verwer:
JOEL PRINGLE: What we know is that negative gearing as it currently stands is a failed policy. It doesn’t deliver new housing. Over 90 per cent of negatively geared properties are actually existing housing stock. So it’s not lowering rents in the way it’s meant to be. So we know it’s failing to deliver on its aim.
TOM NIGHTINGALE: But the Australian Property Council has other views on what would see more houses being built.
The chief executive, Peter Verwer:
PETER VERWER: There is a broad consensus that we need to increase the supply of land for housing, that we need to cut the red tape which is a blocker to the supply of housing, so this is the development assessment systems around the country.
And also we need to lower the taxes which are incredibly inefficient, so developer charges, but also the classic taxes, stamp duty for instance, which are all barriers to increased housing supply and choice.
TOM NIGHTINGALE: But the property council recognises the structural problems in Australia’s housing market.
PETER VERWER: The fact that housing supply is at record lows indicates that the problem is getting worse and the reason it’s getting worse is because governments don’t see urban policy and urban productivity as a driver of the economy, so they’re not joining the dots.
When it’s harder for people to get from their homes to the workplace or to the childcare centre or to the school, you’re crimping productivity. You’re making it more difficult for people, particularly women, to enter into the workforce.
These are tiny steps, but at least the important issue of housing affordability is receiving some attention in the lead-up to the Federal Election.