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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Labor’s housing policy proves to be another financial blunder

Labor’s housing policy released today showed a continued lack of financial credibility by claiming that they could deliver 11,350 new homes for $650 million, an unbelievable price of just $57,000 per home.

This commitment also relies on all state and territory governments matching Labor’s unfunded commitment of $325 million over 4 years – a tough ask when state and territory Labor governments are currently not contributing sufficient additional funding to fulfill their responsibilities.

Given that Labor has not identified how they will pay for these promises, their claims that “rent assistance has ballooned” is a good indication that Labor will be looking to cut $400 million from rent assistance to pay for this policy.

Giving more money to state and territory governments at the expense of Australian Government funding rent assistance will not help the 940,000 Australians who last year relied on rent assistance to balance their budget.

Rent assistance makes a substantial difference to Australians on low incomes by halving the number customers paying over 30% of their income in rent.

This unfunded policy, which is costed so poorly, is another financial blunder by the Labor Party that left Australians with a debt of $96.6 billion.

Providing additional funds to state and territory governments ignores the fact that the provision of public housing is a state and territory responsibility – one they continue to run from despite increased revenue from Stamp Duty and Land Taxes.

On average for every $1 in Commonwealth housing assistance the state and territory governments contribute only 13 cents in matching funds.

The greatest housing assistance the Howard Government has given to Australians has been to manage the economy properly.

Mortgage lending rates are currently around 7 per cent, well below the 17 per cent at the start of the 1990s and the 10.5 per cent when this Government came to office.