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Budget abandons housing affordability

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 4 May 2016

The 2016 budget entrenches government hostility to renters and those on low incomes trying to get into the housing market, the Australian Greens said today.

"Reports this morning outline the huge risk affordable housing is under with this budget, as we will see thousands of wealthy retirees switch their investments from superannuation to property. That will squeeze lower income earners and first home buyers even further out of the market," Australian Greens spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

"The Greens led the push to end the overly generous superannuation tax exemptions, but it was always intended to be part of a package of reforms that also included the phase-out of negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount. Lazily implementing only one element of a comprehensive plan means that once again it is lower income earners who will suffer.

"Negative gearing already costs the community $4 billion a year, a cost that will no doubt rise further as people move their wealth out of superannuation and into property, forcing ordinary taxpayers to subsidise their investments. The capital gains tax discount costs closer to $7 billion annually. The government ran away from tackling these handouts, for fear of upsetting the property sector.

"More and more Australians are locked out of the housing market, and Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison seem determined to make it worse. This budget confirms more than $110 million of annual funding to homelessness services comes to an end next year. They've locked in Tony Abbott's appalling $600 million cuts to affordable rental and housing programs.

"This budget is a disaster for anyone who is not like Malcolm Turnbull. This morning on radio he suggested that the way to address inter-generational equity was for a parent to buy his children property, as though that was an option for everyone.

"It is the absolute opposite of the fairness that government said they were trying to achieve," Senator Ludlam concluded.

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