HIA calls for Federal Housing Minister

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While the election camping and its debate on affordability and negative gearing are now in the nation’s rear-view mirror, housing looks like it will remain a key political issue for some time to come.

As the Coalition sees the result it wanted and moves past the 76 seats in the House of Representatives it needs to govern in its own right, the Housing Industry Association of Australia (HIA) has called for Federal Government to take a leadership role on housing policy across the country.

“Australia needs a Commonwealth Housing Minister - a senior Minister in cabinet to provide national leadership, to coordinate federal, state and local government housing programs, to guide important industry policy reform nationally,” HIA chief economist Harley Dale said.

“The incoming Commonwealth Government needs to focus on building the new homes for our growing population, meeting the housing needs of our changing demographics, addressing the housing affordability challenges confronting younger generations, supporting the 321,595 businesses that operate across the residential building industry, and importantly, enabling the industry to grow and expand its contribution to the Australian economy,” Dr Dale said.

According to the HIA, the residential construction industry currently generates $160bn in national GDP each year as well as providing $77bn in taxation revenue, and Dr Dale said with more guidance and assistance at a federal level it could play a major role in preventing Australia from losing its AAA credit rating.

“Residential building activity has been the engine room of the Australian economy for the past four years. It has filled the void left by a contracting mining sector, and has gained some ground on a decade of undersupply in new housing. But there's much more that needs to be done if Australia is to defend its AAA credit rating,” he said.

“External rating agencies and organisations like the IMF are watching our economy closely, particularly housing, and are clearly looking for economic focus, leadership and policy reform. Reform is the key; while procrastination could well be the nation’s Achilles heel. A lack of federal focus on housing policy reform increases the chance of a ratings downgrade.”

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