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Memo to Howard: 10 things to do on home ownership.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Housing; Urban Development; Local Government and Territories 13/9/06


Memo to Howard: 10 things to do on home ownership

The Prime Minister appears to have backed away from his plan to improve first home buyer affordability by slashing the value of homes in the outer suburbs. While he takes a cold shower and prepares his next blame-shifting idea, Labor has put forward positive options for Commonwealth action:

1. Appoint a Minister for Housing and Urban Development - someone who can stand up for home buyers and owners in Cabinet and take a genuine interest in our cities.

2. Develop a national settlement strategy to allow all levels of government to plan for changes in population, housing demand and demographics.

3. Boost the number of skilled tradespeople to put downward pressure on construction costs, inflation and interest rates.

4. Invest in the productive capacity of the economy by addressing Australia's chronic infrastructure deficit to put downward pressure on inflation and interest rates.

5. Examine a Government-backed shared equity scheme to enable hard-working Australians to get their foot on the first rung of the home ownership ladder.

6. Better target the First Home Owners Grant so that it provides help to home-buyers in middle Australia who need it most.

7. Re-engage in cities policy and work with the states to address the bottlenecks in our cities and ensure infrastructure is in place to support new housing developments.

8. Improve research on the housing market so that action can be taken to smooth out the boom-bust cycles that don’t do anyone any favours.

9. Rip up John Howard's extreme industrial relations legislation, which reduces job security and puts pay rates and overtime at risk.

10. Work with the States to remove red tape and streamline arrangements for institutional investment in affordable housing developments.

Labor believes that first home buyer affordability does not have to come at the expense negative equity and repossessions for existing mortgage holders.

It is time for the Prime Minister to show the national leadership every stakeholder has been calling for over the last five years.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson, 0417 142 238. Canberra Office: Parliament house CANBERRA ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3730 Fax: 02 6277 5911