17 August 2023

New housing agreement not agreeable to everyone

| Chris Johnson
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The Opposition and the Greens aren’t so impressed with National Cabinet’s new housing plans. Photo: File.

Anthony Albanese’s housing reform agreement reached with state and territory governments this week looks set for a rocky road ahead.

The Greens are far from impressed by the plan and the Coalition is saying the Prime Minister won’t be able to deliver on its promises.

National Cabinet has agreed to a new national housing target of 1.2 million homes and an extra $3.5 billion in funding. A range of reforms to strengthen tenant rights and limit rent increases were also agreed to.

The ACT has already legislated its own measures with regard to tenant rights and rent increases.

But Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has questioned whether Mr Albanese is the PM able to follow through with the plan. Mr Dutton said while building more homes was good in theory, the nation shouldn’t expect to see any results soon.

“It seems to me that this is just another figure the Prime Minister has plucked out of the air,” Mr Dutton said.

“Increasing the target to 1.2 million might sound good, but the Prime Minister never delivers.

“He doesn’t get across the detail and I just don’t think he’s up to the task.

“We all want to see more houses, we all want to see more supply. The trouble is these figures don’t mean anything.

“As we’ve seen in relation to other issues, he makes the announcement but there’s no delivery.”

READ ALSO ACT in right place to profit from National Cabinet’s housing measures to boost supply, says Barr

Greens leader Adam Bandt said he was disappointed by the renting measures announced because most states and territories had already moved on the issue.

He said National Cabinet’s approach could end up with unfair and unlimited rent increases because even though the plan aims to contain increases to just once a year, there were no rent caps or freezes in the plan.

“From now on, every unfair rent increase is Labor’s fault,” Mr Bandt told ABC Radio.

“There is nothing for renters in this package, which is incredibly disappointing.

“I am really frustrated because we have bent over backwards to negotiate with the government on this and to push for action on renters and to get the government to take this rental crisis seriously.”

The government’s $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund has been stalled in the Senate because it does not have the Greens’ support.

Last year’s target to build one million new homes over five years is boosted in the new plan by a target of an additional 200,000 new homes.

The building industry has welcomed the target, which includes increased incentives for jurisdictions to build new homes in their areas.

Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn said the incentives would definitely help with housing supply.

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“We need to go to the root of the supply problem, getting projects off the ground which are lagging due to a combination of high costs, a declining investment appetite from rising interest rates, and delays in approvals,” she said.

“A national planning reform blueprint that looks at the key pinch-points in the building process from planning, zoning and land release will be a key pillar in addressing our housing supply challenges.

“Master Builders has long advocated for a federal incentive payment program that looks at planning delays, developer charges, zoning restrictions and housing infrastructure investment.

“The cost of building homes has been exacerbated over recent years with unnecessary delays and barriers encountered on their journey to completion. This includes planning impediments, lengthy approval processes and high developer charges on new land developments.”

The $500 million Housing Support Program is a competitive funding scheme to help local and state governments aid housing supply with essential services and amenities.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the territory was already planning to deliver on its per capita share of the million homes target and will continue to pursue that objective.

“Once applications are open for the Housing Support Program we will be ready to submit a range of project proposals to further accelerate the delivery of more new homes,” he said.

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They could up the funding to $100 billion but for as long as this lazy government takes a minimum of $150,000 in taxes and fees for any new build the situation in the ACT will never improve.

HiddenDragon8:18 pm 18 Aug 23

Australia’s political class is apparently too stupid and/or conflicted – or maybe just frightened – to have an honest conversation with the Australian people about the bigger picture, of which the current self-inflicted housing crisis is just one part, and with the stagnation of real incomes over a number of years another.

The simple fact is that if you look at the sectors of the Australian economy which are truly economically and environmentally sustainable in the longer term, the conclusion would rapidly be reached that we already have more than enough people to do what really needs to be done on this continent and that millions more are just engaged in a bloated domestically focused services sector which relies on very high levels of debt (public and private) and revenues from boom-time prices for our commodity exports to keep it afloat.

Unlike Labor and the Liberals, who rely heavily on funding from interests which want an ever bigger Australian population, regardless of the problems it creates, the Greens could be useful on this if they re-discovered their now long-abandoned concerns for the environmental carrying capacity of the Australian continent – but that seems highly unlikely to happen, so we will just stumble on as we have now for too many years, with Australia’s Trump/Brexit moment lurching ever closer as the people on the rough end of this shameful racket get ever more angry and desperate.

The greens are idiots, rent freeze!! So make this the landlords problem, why don’t the greens have freezes on food , fuel , building materials , rates etc etc

How about we try something completely crazy and not just import an entire Canberra’s worth of population into our country every year when we don’t have housing/infrastructure/services for the people already here much less that many additional people?

Nah… I guess you can’t cook the books and make the economy look strong without feeding further the ponzi scheme.

Any suggestions as to how you would staff the nursing homes for all those ageing baby boomers if you don’t bring in people to work there?

How about training and government incentives for people to move into the professions?
Do you really believe that everyone or even a majority coming into the country will be working in these kinds of positions anyway? If this was the case, we wouldn’t have all these people coming in on skilled work visa’s and driving Ubers or working in cafes.

I always find it hilarious, all the people that one one hand talk about how AI will soon make everyone’s jobs redundant but at the same time, that we need to constantly be bringing in more and more people due to a shortage of workers for such positions.

Who’s going to look after all these new people when they inevitably get old? Hence the term: population ponzi.

Bob – whilst it’s fine in theory to be talking about ‘training up’ and providing “government incentives” (taxpayer funds) to people who already live here; the reality of the situation in aged care is that all the training and “government incentives” isn’t providing enough staff to do the work in aged care homes. That’s simply a fact. And “AI” isn’t going to change the incontinence pads. There are labour shortages in certain industries, that’s the economics of it.

OK great, so bring in thousands of trained nurses and age care workers. This is certainly not 400+ thousand people PER YEAR and any attempt to justify one of the most ludicrously large migration intakes in proportion to the size of the country in the world is disingenuous at best.

Interesting that your solution to aged care workers seems to be bringing in poorer immigrant workers to do the lower paid jobs that Australians themselves won’t do.

Very progressive of you.

Chewy14 what makes you want to bring in “poorer immigrant workers”, that’s very disingenuous of you. You are making some pretty shaky assumptions aren’t you.

hi bob, aged care is one example of a skills shortage area. Transport workers are another and supply chain shortages are still prevalent in many industries. The employment statistics don’t support your argument. There was also a large immigration program after the 2nd world war, many of the migrants built the city that, one assumes, you live in and enjoy today. So best not to bight the hand that feeds you.

Agree with Bob and to add to his perspective I’d say that we also need to improve working conditions in the industries that are short-staffed. In all cases the conditions are pretty awful, which is why those Australians who used to work in these industries (including those trained to do so) have left them. We see this in all areas of health, hospitality and many trades.

Where people are poorly paid, in understaffed or ill-equipped workplaces, with authoritarian inflexible and often bullying bosses, Australians are quick to leave, with the only people staying being those who have no other options. That is often those on work visas who would be worse off in their own countries. They put up with poor treatment here so they can send money to families at home to help them survive.

Not really Astro,
You’re claiming that immigration is the best solution for service industries like aged care that are historically lower skilled and lower paid, yet you don’t want to recognise the consequences of what you’re asking for.

A large part of the reason why those industries are short staffed is because of those conditions, so filling them with immigrants only ensures downward pressure on wages and conditions continues and the structural problems are not addressed.

Immigration is not very good at fixing fundamental demographic problems, it only kicks the can further down the road and our current immigration policies have seemingly been put together on beer coasters with very little thought to long term consequences and future generations.

It’s extremely short sighted and lazy thinking to meet short term political goals.

Hi chewy14, you’ve made some assumptions here that don’t stand up. There are various levels of staffing required in aged care, they’re not all “lower skilled and lower paid”. When you claim that “Immigration is not very good at fixing fundamental demographic problems….” suggest you have a read back to the post-WW2 immigration programs and you may find this enlightening. Also the claim that “it is extremely short-sighted and lazy thinking…” suggests you don’t have an aged relative in aged care. If it was your family then I think we can confidently claim that you wouldn’t be so fussy as to who is changing the bed sheets and the incontinence pads.

“you’ve made some assumptions here that don’t stand up.”

Straight back at you, imagine thinking the post WW2 period is remotely comparable to today’s economic needs. I suggest you read some economic books to assist your wayward thinking.

And you’re the one calling for lower paid and lower skilled immigrants to be imported to work in aged care. You either don’t have any family in aged care or you couldn’t care less about them.

Very ignorant, I suggest you inform yourself before posting again.

Chewy I checked previous posts and only you make references to “lower paid and lower skilled migrants” – twice in fact so you appear to have some sort of fixation on this. Care to explain why? It does’t reflect well on you and diminishes whatever argument you may have had, as tenuous as it is. Regarding the post WW2 migration program, this is an example of where immigration worked to fix fundamental demographic problems. No one is saying that migration programs are identical, not sure where you get these ideas from.

The post WW2 immigration didn’t remotely fix any demographic problems. This was literally the period that Baby Boomers were born. You’re entire premise is made up and the assumptions don’t hold any factual basis with reality.

Also hilarious that the post WW2 immigration that you want to emulate was mostly lower paid unskilled workers so yes, that’s exactly what you’re asking for now.

Any more fairytale you want to provide?

Hi chewy, again the fixation on “lower paid unskilled workers”, you’ve really got an obsession with this. Can only think that it feeds in to your anti-immigrant fixation. It’s sad that you feel threatened by migration. Contrary to your unsubstantiated claims, the post-WW2 migration program was comprised of a wide range of different skills and backgrounds. There is more information you can seek out from many sources, including the National Museum of Australia and aph.gov.au
Also here: https://theconversation.com/australias-post-war-migration-was-a-success-lets-admit-it-28390
and here: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/economic-migration-australia-21st-century
Assuming you live in Canberra – Immigration built the Canberra that you live in and enjoy today.

What makes you think I have an anti immigrant fixation?

What a strange response when my position is clearly related to the currently oversized amount of migration that has never been seen in this country.

I’m perfectly happy with a reasonable level of skilled migration and the benefits it creates.

You claimed the post WW2 immigration fixed a demographics problem, yet you’ve produced nothing to support the claim.

Also, nice links, perhaps you should read them:

‘He thought the Italians and Greeks, the first non-Britishers to arrive in large numbers, had suffered “economic deprivation” because very few had made it into white-collar jobs, and none into the professions and boardrooms”

“The Analysis makes policy recommendations to help address issues of mistreatment and underpayment of temporary migrant workers, ensure that the allocation of temporary skilled visas reflects genuine skills shortages, address problems of gender inequity, and ensure that policy settings remain responsive to future workforce needs.”

Hmm, what were you saying about lower paid and lower skilled workers again?

Stephen Saunders9:43 am 18 Aug 23

Let’s try a thought experiment. Would Dutton do anything much different, on the supply side or the demand side? Not really. It’s just a relay – not a contest.

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