Gillard, Abbott called to outline housing policies

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Kate Miller

With the federal election now just days away the Labor government and the Coalition are being pressured to outline specific policies for the housing sector.

Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president David Airey said it was unbelievable that neither major party had outlined any policies for housing.

"Neither the ALP nor the Liberal/National Coalition have developed a specific housing policy in their election campaigns, something that I find quite incomprehensible given that housing is a crucial part of our economy and is currently facing major challenges", he said.

Meanwhile the Housing Industry Association (HIA) has called on the campaigning parties to state their commitment on the "bread and butter issues" of housing, in particular their commitment on a new housing and cost reduction program and a housing and development ministry.

"A housing cost reduction program can target inequitable levies and charges on new housing such as stamp duty and GST, the cascading ‘taxes on taxes' that apply to the same development, rationing of finance by banks, reform of infrastructure funding, sensible building regulations and better planning approval systems," HIA managing director Shane Goodwin said yesterday.

A ministry would coordinate housing planning and development across all levels of government to ensure Australia obtained the infrastructure it needed to grow and prosper, he added.

More than three weeks ago, the REIA wrote to all major political parties and independent senators requesting action on a comprehensive housing policy.

"The areas that we are looking for action on are the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG), housing affordability, mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency ratings, national property taxation framework and the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) Guidelines," Mr Airey said.

"Housing affects the majority of Australians who will be voting in the election; Australians expect leadership from an incoming Government on this issue."


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