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When a year isn't a very long time in politics



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CHRIS BOWEN MP SHADOW TREASURER MEMBER FOR MCMAHON

WHEN A YEAR ISN’T A VERY LONG TIME IN POLITICS

Readers of The Australian newspaper would have been confused this morning to read the headline ‘Negative gearing caps in the frame’ for the looming Federal Budget.

It was a similar headline and story to what we saw this time last year, as The Australian - ‘Turnbull keeps negative gearing curbs on table’ - and other newspapers wrote about the Prime Minister and Treasurer considering caps of $20,000 and $30,000 on amounts that could be claimed for negative gearing

While the backgrounders and headlines stay the same, the only thing that seems to change is that the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets get further and further out of the price range of young first home buyers.

Last Friday’s housing finance data confirmed that the continued dominance of property investors in the housing market while the presence of first home buyers is still near record lows.

Federal Labor has had a clear and defendable policy reform agenda for over a year now, reforms that would have seen a level playing for young first home buyers. Meanwhile, Scott Morrison has had no policy on housing affordability.

The best words to describe the Turnbull Government’s housing affordability policy are ‘paralysis’ and ‘division’.

Last year’s headlines of consideration of changes to negative gearing were intermingled with reports of Tony Abbott, the Coalition backbench, and later the Cabinet, rolling the Prime Minister and Treasurer.

This year, the headlines on Treasury considering capital gains tax discount and negative gearing changes are all about Scott Morrison staying relevant in the face of a consistent position from the Finance Minister, supported by Malcolm Turnbull, that the Government will not be making changes to either tax concession.

The Turnbull Government’s economic team is deeply divided.

This Treasurer has talked for 18 months on housing affordability but delivered nought.

Flying policy kites and thought bubbles is no substitute for conviction and policy detail.

Nothing that the Treasurer has directly floated or background over the last week makes it any easier for a young first home buyer couple competing at an auction against seasoned property investors who are backed with the capital gains tax discount and negative gearing.

And the Treasurer has no shame when it comes to hypocrisy, continually attacking Labor’s plans to reform negative gearing and capital gains tax discount at the same time as he backgrounds that Treasury is looking at similar reforms.

MONDAY, 13 MARCH 2017

MEDIA CONTACT: JAMES CULLEN 0409 719 879