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Thursday, 15 March 1973
Page: 638

Mr BONNETT (Herbert) - I commend the Government for introducing this Bill, which I hope will help more people to establish their own homes. Because of this my comments will be brief, as I have no argument against it. I believe that the reason the limit on home loans was first introduced was to allow for a wider distribution of the loan money that was available, but we all know that since then the monetary system has changed and I feel that it is only right that the loan limit should have been raised. The privilege of owning his home is a large part of a man's heritage, and I completely agree with the Minister for Housing (Mr Les Johnson) that more avenues should be made available for a man to obtain finance to rear his family in their own home. Psychologically it is a great benefit for a family to have their own home because they are inclined to be much more community conscious, which leads, as we know, to a great deal of desirable parochial pride.

We talk of living in an affluent society and indeed we do, compared with people in the majority of other countries. Therefore, whenever it is possible to distribute this affluence more equitably throughout the community by easing the restrictions on access to finance to build more private homes it must further benefit this great country that we have. The. Minister stated in one of his speeches that the Government considers that housing is a high priority matter and I look forward to the

Government offering greater opportunities to the average working man to purchase his own home. I would hope that the intention behind this Bill is designed to do justice. In the same speech that I mentioned the Minister said .that there were many families and individuals for whom it is not the right solution. The Minister for Housing, who is at the table, might explain this statement. I cannot follow it. On the one hand the Government, through this Bill, has placed the Commonwealth Bank back in the competitive housing loan business, because the Government strongly supports home ownership and wants to help needy families; and on the other hand it says that some cases it is not the right solution. I mention this because I hope he can clarify this matter for me.

I would like to mention another matter also regarding the easing of loan finance for housing. It all sound extremely good to me. But what will the situation be when a person wishes to build his own home? The finance may be available but have we enough tradesmen in the country to meet the demand for home building? I would suggest that the Government may be well advised to look at the trade training system as well as easing the avenues for housing finance. I think that these 2 matters are really compatible. If supply can keep pace with the demand in the home building industry it would be of even greater benefit to the community than just easing the availability of finance. In some areas the housing shortage is acute. This we know. People anxious to build their homes have to wait many, many months before builders are available, and the added cost of building by importing builders, due to the wage structure, makes the cost of building a home prohibitive. This has been proved in north Queensland to a very great extent.

Under the present Bill I presume that money will be loaned for housing at the current interest rates. A person borrows a certain amount of money from the bank according to the amount he can afford to repay in regular monthly payments, which would include capital plus interest. But we all know that borrowed money has to be paid for and that when money is plentiful interest rates tend to be low and when money is scarce the interest rates are higher. This leads me to ask whether, when this Bill was being discussed, any consideration was given to allowing the borrower any leeway with his monthly repayments in the event of a rise in interest rates. I think we could guarantee that rates will not be lowered. But to the average working man who has borrowed from the bank to build his home and who is repaying the loan to the maximum of his capacity any increase in bis repayments could place him in an embarrassing financial situation. This I have seen, and I hope this matter will be considered in the future. I support this Bill, which I hope will be the means of assisting many more people to build their own homes.

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