Published : 28 September 2015
Master Builders Australia have backed a call by new Treasurer Scott Morrison for national leadership to solve the country's housing affordability problem.
MBA CEO Wilhelm Harnisch the Treasurer’s recent remarks echoed Master Builders’ long held position for a bi-partisan and rational approach that involves state and territory governments.
“The problems surrounding housing affordability and their solutions are well known but the missing piece has always been a positive national agenda for reform,” Mr Harnisch said.
“Master Builders therefore welcome the Treasurer’s pointed reminder that the housing market is in need of reform his plans to do something about it. The core of the housing affordability challenge, as identified by the Treasurer, is the lack of supply in meeting the demands of a growing population and that a regulation modernisation agenda is needed to improve competitiveness and efficiency.”
Mr Harnisch said that reforms to boost housing supply had to be at the core of improving housing affordability - and these included the planning, development and approval processes and the cutting of excessive infrastructure charges.
“This is where national leadership is imperative because the constitutional responsibilities lie with state governments. National leadership will rely heavily on working cooperatively and collaboratively with state and territory governments through COAG and other processes,” he said.
Master Builders have long called for the return of federal national competition policy payments to state and territory governments for individually targeted and permanent structural reforms that remove "the current unnecessary regulatory blockages that hold back and inflate the cost of housing supply in the respective states and territories". The recent Harper Review of Competition Policy recognised the proper role for competition payments and Master Builders reiterated the case for such a scheme to be used to accelerate structural reform and to boost supply, improve access to and lower the cost of housing.
“Master Builders look to the new Treasurer to refresh the reform process currently in train including COAG’s housing affordability working party being chaired by Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas. Home ownership must remain a cornerstone of Australia’s wellbeing and Australia’s way of life,” Mr Harnisch said.
“Boosting the supply of both private and public housing is essential to ensure more Australians can have access to appropriate and affordable housing; structural reform is the answer and not removing negative gearing.”