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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 579


Mr HILL (Bruce) (10:14): When we say that shelter is a basic human need, we do not just mean a place to get out of the rain. It is clearly more than that. We need the security and stability that comes from having a place to call home. Home ownership and the long-term security it brings is out of reach for more and more Australians, on every measure. If you look at the averages, in 1990 the average price people paid for their home was 2.6 times the average household income.

Last year, it was 4.4 times the average household income, which is a 60 per cent increase in the gap between average incomes and average house prices. The median figures also show that house prices keep on growing faster than median incomes can keep up. In the last decade, Australia's median household income—that is the fat bit in the middle of the bell curve—increased by 43 per cent. In that same 10 years, and these figures are important, median house prices across Australia increased by almost 60 per cent—in Melbourne by more than 90 per cent and in my electorate of Bruce by more than 150 per cent. That has lifted house prices in my electorate to more than 10 times Australia's median income.

If that gap between house prices and incomes keeps growing, by 2026 it will take a person in my electorate every cent of their household income for 20 years to buy an ordinary house. Or, to put it another way, if they are even lucky enough to get a loan that does not shove them into housing stress—which most people say is about a third of your income paid on a mortgage—and if they are lucky enough to get that loan when they are 20 years old, they will be paying that loan for 60 years. They will finish paying their house off when they are 80. So it is no wonder that people like my daughter and her friends look at the housing market and despair. What has the government got to say? Nothing—no policy, no minister for housing, not even an assistant minister. We had a report last year into home ownership with no recommendations—that is how seriously this government takes the plight of young Australians who are living lease to lease, never knowing if they will be evicted for no reason or priced out of their neighbourhood by rising rents.

I do not have time now to talk about the rental crisis, which is just as bad or worse, but make no mistake—this is not just a series of numbers. The crisis in housing affordability is a human crisis. There are no simple answers. Supply and demand both play a part. Institutional investment plays a part. Of course, the tax system—negative gearing and capital gains tax—plays a part. Limited tenants' rights also play a part. Everything has to be on the table. I call on those opposite, who have the privilege and responsibility of government, to work with all of us to solve the problem—because the people who sent us here expect us to put aside games of tit for tat and gotcha politics, and to work to find real solutions.