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Public Housing, Not 'Granite Benchtop Grants', Should Drive Construction Stimulus

Media Release
Adam Bandt 2 Jun 2020

The Greens have said that the construction of public and community housing should drive construction stimulus, not ill-conceived and unnecessary new home and renovation grants.

Warning Scott Morrison against establishing a ‘Mansion Extension Fund’ in lieu of a public housing fund, the Greens say the proposal represents the height of hypocrisy for a government that criticised the construction of school halls as post-GFC stimulus.

Australian Greens Housing spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, said:

“Australia is in desperate need of more public and community housing. That’s where we should be investing, not handing out public money for home renovations.

“Construction can certainly create jobs and boost the economy, but let’s make sure we are building projects that support the people who most need it. This is a real opportunity to help solve the housing and homelessness crisis. Everyone deserves the dignity of a safe and secure home.

“COVID-19 has not stopped the homelessness nor housing affordability crises, and as we emerge from the pandemic we should be doing everything we can to make sure everyone has a roof over their head.

“Unfair tax rules like negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount make it easier for someone to buy their fifth investment property than a first home to live in. These have to be dismantled so people looking for their first home can actually afford it.

“Over the next decade, we must build 500,000 new public and community houses. The Greens have a plan to make this happen,” she said.

Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt MP, said:

"There are 116,000 people homeless in Australia but instead of creating jobs by building a roof over everyone’s heads, Scott Morrison considers a ‘Mansion Extension Fund’.

“A construction-led recovery involves building half a million public housing homes over the next 15 years, which would create 40,000 jobs and 4,000 apprenticeships.

“We should build homes for the hundreds of thousands of people on public housing waiting lists, not hand out Granite Benchtop Grants.

“To hear this coming from a government that still criticises the construction of school halls after the GFC is the height of hypocrisy.

"Under the Liberals, it looks like some Australians may be gifted public money to add extra rooms to their empty mansions while others are battling frostbite on the streets.

"Because these grants will require people to stump up cash up-front, they will predominantly end up going to people who can already afford to undertake a renovation project or buy a new home. It will do nothing to increase availability to those who are already priced out of the housing market."

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