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Coalition housing policies

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ALEXANDER DOWNER S h a d o w M in ister fo r H ousing, S m all Business Et C u sto m s β


The Federal Coalition has spent much of the past two months working on new housing initiatives to enable more Australians to purchase their own homes, Federal Shadow Minister for Housing, Alexander Downer told the Australian Association of Permanent

Building Societies in Canberra today.

"First, we have held extensive and very fruitful discussions with housing and housing finance bodies - including your own - on what we call our Homesure scheme. This scheme would give young Australians the opportunity to raise an average of about $15,000

as a deposit on their first home.

"The scheme would allow a person aged 25 to cash in 75% of their accrued superannuation benefits provided they used that money as a deposit on their first home and they remained in the superannuation scheme.

"This proposal would encourage more young Australians to get into superannuation, thereby providing for their own retirement, and it would also enable hundreds of thousands of young Australians to purchase a home where at present they are excluded from home ownership.

"Secondly, we have done a great deal of work on changes to mortgage assistance and rent relief schemes. I have no doubt that low income families should be given a choice as to whether to buy a home, rent privately or get into public housing. Under

present policies the lucky few get into public housing and the rest sink or swim in the private rental market. That is inequitable.

"One way of changing policies would be for the Commonwealth to fund an allowance to low income families which could be used for any of those three forms of tenure.

"If we did that, we could use the funds available in the current housing and rent assistance budgets much more efficiently and get them to stretch to many more people by saying to those who opted for mortgage assistance that Commonwealth support would be recoupable.

"By way of illustration, we could say to low income home purchasers that we would give them $60 a week mortgage assistance but that this assistance would be recovered on the sale of the house.

"The average duration of the ownership of one home is seven years (and many houses are sold in a much shorter period than that) and so within a short period the Commonwealth would get some of its money back with which it could then assist other needy families.

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"At present, home assistance money is lost to the Commonwealth forever.

"While assistance in the public and private rental markets would not be recoverable, it has to be remembered that home purchasers actually end up with an asset: renters do not. That asset is rightly free of tax and consequently it is not unreasonable for

the taxpayer to ask those who can do so to repay the support which has bought them a valuable asset".

21 April 1989

Contact: Alexander Downer 08 391 0888 or 07 369 8167 (after 5.30 p.m. )