Remember this comment by Joe Hockey:
“If housing was unaffordable in Sydney nobody would be buying it”…
“The starting point for first home buyers is to get a good job that pays good money”.
Well, the Assistant Treasurer with responsibility for housing affordability, Michael Sukkar, came out with similar words last night, effectively telling young people to get “a highly paid job” if they want to afford a home. From The SMH:
“We’re also enabling young people to get highly paid jobs which is the first step to buying a house, it’s not the only answer but it’s the first step,” Mr Sukkar told Sky News.
“I want to see young people like me, leave university, I was a terrible university student but I left university because the economy was so good, I got a great start and I was able to forge a career,” he said…
As a parliamentarian he is paid a base salary of $199,040 per year plus 25 per cent as a parliamentary secretary or assistant minister. This does not include the generous travel allowances granted to MPs.
The average wage in Australia is $78,832 per year.
Leaving aside the fact that not everyone can get a highly paid job as a politician, Sukkar might want to look at wages growth, which is at the lowest level on record at the same time as Sydney and Melbourne house prices have rocketed:
He might also want to examine the labour force data, which shows that the Coalition is failing badly to meet its own soft target of creating “one million jobs in five years”:
Instead of making daft statements, Sukkar should have outlined a plan to actually deal with Australia’s housing mess by committing to most or all of the following:
- Undertake fundamental housing-related tax reform (e.g. unwinding negative gearing and the CGT discount, and incentivising the states to swap stamp duties for a broad-based land tax);
- Financially incentivising the states to free-up land-use and planning restrictions;
- Providing the states with funding (or facilitating funding) for housing-related infrastructure;
- Cracking-down hard on foreign investment into established real estate;
- Financially incentivising the states to build more public housing and to change rental laws to provide greater security of tenure;
- Slashing immigration to sensible and sustainable levels.
The time for talk is over. Australia needs fundamental action on housing affordability.