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Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Page: 9196

Mr HOCKEY (2:45 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation. Will the increase in the first home owners grant increase house prices?

Mr TANNER (Minister for Finance and Deregulation) —I am not sure that this is within my portfolio responsibilities, but I am happy to answer the question. It is a very good question. The government has decided to act with respect to the Economic Security Strategy because there are very strong downward pressures being exerted on the Australian economy by the international financial crisis. Those downward pressures, as was indeed noted by the leader of the member for North Sydney, the Leader of the Opposition, are already having a significant effect on the economy, and the housing sector, of course, is an important part of that. I do not make any projection about the specific effect that the first home owners grant increase will have. That will be very difficult to determine and to extract from the wider economic data, but it is part of an overall strategy which is designed to sustain economic activity, in that case in a specific sector that is crucial to the wider Australian economy. It is designed to push back, by stimulating spending and by stimulating economic activity, against those very powerful downward pressures that are being exerted by the global financial crisis on the Australian economy.