The Australian Greens have welcomed Treasurer Joe Hockey's attempts to contribute to the debate on tax reform and housing affordability, and encouraged him to continue offering free advice to people struggling to stay afloat in Australia's overheated housing market.
"In bringing forward our proposal to abolish Negative Gearing, the Greens have sought to highlight the unfairness of tax concessions flowing to property investors at the expense of renters and first home buyers," Australian Greens housing spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said.
"While most people have been willing to engage on the merits of the argument, Treasurer Hockey demonstrates the brazen sense of entitlement and elitist detachment from reality that makes the case for reform better than we ever could."
"From the vantage point of a $350,000 a year taxpayer funded job and an impressive property portfolio, fresh from cutting half a billion dollars from Commonwealth housing affordability programs, who better than Joe Hockey to make the case for the status quo," Senator Ludlam said.
"The only thing that could have improved the performance would have been a cigar."
Joe Hockey's budget cuts to affordable housing programs, worth $589.2 million:
- First Home Saver Accounts scheme saving $134 million over five years axed, making it harder for young people to save for their first home
- National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) program including the remaining 12,000 new rental homes, worth $235.2 million
- $44m capital funding from the National Partnership on Homeless to build new homelessness shelters and emergency accommodation
- $3 million homelessness research strategy funding
- A new program to sell off "surplus" commonwealth property with no criteria for affordable housing introduced
- Housing Help for Seniors pilot program worth $173 m axed - this program assisted seniors to downsize, which would have freed up larger family homes for young families to move into
In addition, also axed have been:
- National Housing Supply Council
- Major Cities unit
- COAG Housing Reform Council (in charge of monitoring government's effectiveness in achieving housing affordability goals)
- Prime Minister's Council on Homelessness
- $21m grants program for housing affordability solutions axed 3 days before Christmas
- National Peak bodies National Shelter, Homelessness Australia and Community Housing Federation of Australia axed three days before Christmas - leaving no voice, policy advice to government on housing affordability