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Government Housing Target Is Fanciful

Government Housing Target Is Fanciful


In keeping with the great tradition in Australian politics of providing window dressing rather than real solutions, the political leadership has created a media opportunity but no resolution of the housing shortage crisis.

Right now, what this country needs is real policies to encourage and incentivise mum and dad property investors.

Governments need to create a climate in which ordinary Australians will be motivated to buy investment properties and make them available for long-term rentals.

They need to be encouraged, financially rewarded – and congratulated – for doing so.

There will be two major benefits: it will solve the rental shortage and take the pressure off residential rents – AND it will help Australians provide for own retirements, something we desperately need people to do as the population ages rapidly.

That’s what we need to happen and it would be so, so easy to do.

But that’s not what we’ve been given.

Indeed, we saw the Prime Minister and the state and territory government leaders gathered together in front of the media to make an empty promise – one that has no chance of being delivered.

We had our political leaders promising to build 1.2 million homes over the next five years.

I’m here to tell you that it can’t happen and it won’t happen.

Australia has never in its history built that number of new dwellings in any five-year period, nor anything close to it.

And it’s even less likely to be achieved now than ever before, because of all the systemic problems in the home construction industry.

We have shortages of everything, including personnel and materials, and we have seen massive cost escalations.

Builders are going broke all over Australia and developers are cancelling or deferring projects because they’re not viable in the current climate.

How do our political leaders propose to deal with these issues?

Well, they don’t. They don’t have any policies for dealing with these issues. They haven’t even acknowledged that the problems exist.

As is so often the case, they haven’t thought beyond the press conference.

So we’re stuck with the current situation, which is definitely not conducive to creating an all-time national record for home-building.

Right now, all the trends are heading in the opposite direction.

In July, new housing approvals fell to a four-year low, confirming an ongoing slump in activity.

Monthly declines in both new detached houses and attached homes – apartments, townhouses and semi-detached dwellings – pulled total approvals for the 12-month period to 174,000,  according to the ABS figures.

Keep in mind that if we are to meet the Federal Government’s fantasy target, Australia needs to be building 240,000 new dwellings each year for five years.

The fall in approvals, a leading indicator of housing activity, accompanied separate data showing the value of residential construction for financial year 2023 weakened to $73.4 billion, the lowest in eight years. 

The slowdown puts the Albanese government’s target of 1.2 million new homes in doubt.

Commentators all over Australia, and in all forms of media, are ridiculing this number – because we are currently light years away from achieving the necessary rate of new homes – and there is no government plan to address the reasons why that is so.

The reality is that we have a rental shortage crisis, which is likely to keep getting worse, and our political leaders, in response, don’t have a plan.


All they have given us is a press conference.


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