• UDIA National member alert: Countdown to the Federal Election

    2019-05-16

    UDIA National member alert: Countdown to the Federal Election

    Subject: Housing affordability takes centre stage in the last days of the election campaign
     
    With just 1 day to go before the Federal Election this Saturday, infrastructure pledges with large price tags attached have been flowing thick and fast.
     
    Coalition pledges have now reached $13.8 billion, while Labor’s promises total a whopping $96.7 billion to date.
     
    Funding boosts have been promised by both sides for infrastructure as well as health, education, the environment, social services (including the homeless, childcare and Indigenous Australians) - with tax treatments, wages growth and the cost of living in focus.
     
    The Prime Minister put housing affordability, one of UDIA’s key priority issues, firmly on the national agenda at the Coalition’s official campaign launch on the weekend announcing the a commitment to a First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which will help some first home buyers buy a home with just 5% deposit, leveraging the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.
     
    It was encouraging to see the Opposition swiftly coming out in support of the Scheme, confirming a bipartisan commitment to housing affordability.
     
    Here’s a quick snapshot of the key campaign issues this week that directly relate to our strategic policies:
     
    Housing affordability

    • The Coalition has committed $25 million to the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to establish the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, a move which was quickly supported by Labor.
    • UDIA supports this idea, however, we would like to see eligibility criteria stipulate the scheme is to benefit Australian citizens and to have the income eligibility criteria increased to make it available to an even larger cohort of potential buyers.
    • In addition, if the Government really wants to get housing credit moving again for first home buyers, it needs to encourage APRA to allow the banks to use an assessment interest rate for repayment purposes which is much closer to current home loan rates, rather than the artificially-high theoretical interest rate currently being used.
     
    Tax reform
    • UDIA remains opposed to Labor’s proposed housing taxation changes, as we know it is likely to push down property values and push rents up.
    • We will continue to advocate for broader tax reform to widen the overall taxation funding base away from an overdependence on Stamp Duties which will protect struggling home buyers from bearing the unfair burden of additional fees and charges.
     
    Population growth/migration
    • The Coalition plans to limit the permanent migration program reducing it from 190,000 to 160,000 places per year but have increased the skilled migration numbers within the programme. It has also announced a population planning growth framework, which includes regional settlement plans to more effectively plan for population growth.
    • Labor has announced it will also cap permanent migration numbers and as yet has not articulated a cohesive population growth plan.
    • We support the Coalition’s population planning growth framework as a way of getting the population settings right and ensuring economic growth through a strategic population plan but caution any significant reductions in permanent migration levels given the potential negative impacts to the wider economy.
     
    Infrastructure Accord
    • Labor has stated that should they get into power, they will support infrastructure projects that are in the national interest and keep party politics out of these important decisions.
    • Labor also indicated its desire to closely work with the Coalition and Infrastructure Australia to develop a more cohesive development programme. UDIA has long supported the formation of a National Infrastructure Accord which binds all parties and stakeholders together on the crucial issue of infrastructure delivery to the nation.
    • UDIA would like to see a similar commitment coming from the Coalition and we have been raising this issue at all appropriate opportunities.
     
    Infrastructure spend
    • Both sides have again come out over the past ten days with significant infrastructure pledges for projects across the nation. Here are a just few recent examples:
     
     
    COALITION
    • $4 billion for the resurrection of the congestion busting East West Link, a critical and missing part of Melbourne’s road network, which was shelved in 2015 after $1.3 Billion had been invested in the project. The project will be completed via a private sector and Federal Government PPP and will not involve the State Government.
    • A total of more than $20 billion in infrastructure throughout Victoria over the next decade including:
    • $5 billion for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link from Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine) via the existing rail corridor to Sunshine and then onto the CBD.
    • $2 billion for the Fast Rail between Geelong and Melbourne.
    • A further $40 million to improve road safety and traffic congestion on the Bass Highway between Cooee and Wynyard – with a total commitment of more than $110 million for the Bass Highway.

    LABOR
    • $15 billion for Melbourne's Suburban Rail Loop over 15 years – the biggest Federal investment in a single public transport project in history.
    • $1 billion to begin securing the corridor required to build a High-Speed Rail Link from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra.
    • $60 million for the Central Coast Roads Rescue Package to target the maintenance backlog.
    • $23 million towards a new Swan River crossing at the Causeway in WA.
    • $15 million for Central Coast shared pathways, to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians on the Tuggerawong Pathway, Mannering Park Foreshore and Avoca Kincumber Loop.
    • $7 million in community projects on the Central Coast, including: parks foreshore upgrades, sporting facilities and support for surf lifesaving.
    • $3.5 billion infrastructure plan that will ease traffic congestion across Melbourne’s northern and south-eastern suburbs including a $250 million contribution towards constructing a busway. 
    • $1.75 billion to help deliver Melbourne’s North East Link, which will complete the ring road between the Eastern Freeway and the M80 and connect the city’s growing northern and south-eastern suburbs. 
    • $1.5 billion to deliver targeted upgrades to key arterial roads across Melbourne’s northern and south-eastern suburbs, further easing congestion, improving safety and slashing travel times. 
    • $1.2 billion to deliver a comprehensive infrastructure plan that will reduce traffic congestion across South East Queensland and drive new waves of economic development in the regions.
    Building a liveable future for all Australians
     
    UDIA has continued with our campaign Building a Liveable Future for All Australians to ensure that our position on key infrastructure issues are being heard and have outlined some of our campaign activities for the past week below: Stakeholder engagement:
    • Attendance on 8 May at Breakfast with the Prime Minister The Hon Scott Morrison MP at Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta. NSW Liberal Senator Jim Molan AO DSC was also in attendance.
    • Attendance on 9 May at a debate between The Hon Anthony Albanese MP and Senator The Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO at the Sydney Opera House.
    • Attendance on 10 May at a federal campaign discussion between The Hon Nick Greiner AC for the Coalition and The Hon Wayne Swan MP for the ALP at City Tattersalls Club. 

    Visit our election campaign website Building a liveable future for all Australians” to learn more about the key issues we’re raising with both parties.
     
    We are close to knowing which party will be in power for the next 3 years and UDIA will continue to advocate on your behalf on key urban and development priorities.
     
    A healthy property industry is crucial for the continued economic prosperity of the nation and once a government is formed post 18th May, our real work recommences again - being a measured and credible advisor to government in key policy areas impacting our industry.