Housing affordability

I have great pleasure in joining the matter of public importance submitted by the member for Mulgrave:

That this house notes that only the Victorian Labor government has a plan to make housing more affordable and to make renting fair.

I am particularly going to focus most of my contribution around the areas that I know best — that is, the outer suburbs that I have the privilege to represent and have done for 15 years, and country Victoria where I grew up. That is the particular focus of our policies in terms of providing assistance up-front, particularly to first home owners, that can really assist in getting young people into the market and first home buyers into those areas.

What did those opposite do? They have got an opposition leader now who was the Minister for Planning, and what we saw was no spending on infrastructure and no jobs growth. They had no jobs plan. The best thing you can do for housing affordability or the ability to get people into the market is for them to have jobs. We have had huge jobs growth, and we have had the best jobs growth in the nation. In fact the rest of the country has not created anywhere near the jobs that we have created in Victoria.

We have introduced a swathe of measures that were introduced primarily in the budget, and most came into effect on 1 July. I would just like to inform the house in particular about the exemption for first home buyers when they are buying their first home, either getting an exemption or getting a reduction. We have had a huge number of those, almost 3000, just to the end of September. By any measure that is a great success, and in addition to that those who are purchasing a newly constructed home would on top of that be getting $10 000 inside the urban growth boundary and $20 000 outside it.

In the municipality of Wyndham there have been 202 exemptions and 253 transactions altogether, which is 8 per cent of all state transactions. Casey has had 164 exemptions and 216 altogether — that is, reductions and exemptions. Hume has had 162 transactions, 10 being reductions and 152 exemptions. Whittlesea, which I have the privilege of representing, has had 125 transactions — 26 reductions and 99 exemptions. Greater Bendigo has had 92 transactions — one reduction and 91 exemptions, which means all of those properties would be under $600 000, which shows how affordable Bendigo is. Similarly in Ballarat there have been 77 exemptions and two reductions. Greater Shepparton has had 62 exemptions and no reductions, so that is a very affordable market. Wodonga has had 61 exemptions. Greater Geelong has had 125 exemptions and only 10 reductions. So across the state and in particular in the outer suburbs and those regional areas we are seeing a great take-up. I think that shows the success of the policies that are coming through.

I would particularly like to go to the contribution by the member for Gippsland South, who seemed to think that he had a smoking gun that proved we are not doing enough for regional Victorians. He said that we had defunded the regional expo. That is one day in the year when those opposite actually thought about regional Victoria and said, ‘Come to Melbourne. You’ll be welcome. We’ll have a bit of a booze-up. We’ll all go along. It’ll be at taxpayers expense’. But could they actually demonstrate that many people moved to regional Victoria after that? We care about it every single day of the year, Deputy Speaker, as I know that you in particular do. With our regional partnerships across the nine regions of the state, we are engaging with those regional communities constantly and are asking them to come up with proposals that will make their communities better places to live.

I have already mentioned the first home owners grants. They are $10 000 within the urban growth boundary of Melbourne, but they are $20 000 in regional Victoria. The member for Bulleen, the Leader of the Opposition, made a big deal of having had the most urban member in his team, the member for Kew, do a population task force. Well, what did he actually come up with? We are actually doing it. We are not having a task force to talk about it; we are actually doing it. We are growing jobs in the regions and we are improving transport connections and roads in the regions, and that is improving livability and making home ownership more affordable.

If you are a young person, particularly if you grew up in regional Victoria like I did and like my children did for part of their lives, once you get to a point where you might want to be having children or be thinking about buying a home or are trying to juggle all of that and pay off your higher education contribution scheme (HECS) debt, or you might actually have a business that is going quite well and be getting into the frame of paying payroll tax, then the best thing that you can do for your hip pocket, for your bank balance and for housing affordability is to move to regional Victoria. If you buy a newly constructed home, you will get $20 000 for the first home owners grants, and if you have got a business, you will have a 25 per cent payroll tax reduction — the lowest of any state in the country. You will be able to buy a much more affordable home and probably be able to pay off your HECS debt, have a great lifestyle and maybe have some change left over for a holiday. You might want to go overseas, but I would suggest that you have it in another part of beautiful regional Victoria.

Those opposite have done nothing on population. After two and a half years they released their first policy document about regional Victoria, and there were zero mentions of the national broadband network, zero mentions about road safety, zero mentions about nurses, zero mentions of TAFE, zero mentions about ambulances or paramedics, zero mentions about ice and zero mentions about the national disability insurance scheme or disability, but there were six mentions about the British and nine mentions about the gold rush.

Mr Morris — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, while undoubtedly the coalition’s population task force has come up with some excellent work, this MPI is in fact about the plan that the Victorian Labor government apparently has to make housing more affordable. I ask you to bring the member back to debating that subject.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — The MPI has been quite wideranging this afternoon, but I do ask the member for Yan Yean to speak to the MPI.

Ms Green— Housing affordability is particularly important in regional Victoria, and we care about people who live in all parts of the state — in every single corner. That is why we have released more land — 100 000 lots within the urban growth boundary and in regional Victoria — and we have sped up the releasing of that land. We have released a Social Housing Growth Fund, which has been welcomed by the Tenants Union of Victoria. The Property Council of Victoria has said that the stamp duty concessions and changes we are making will have a good impact on affordable housing options. The Victorian Council of Social Service has applauded a game-changing $2.1 billion social housing package, and the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that our measures to tackle housing affordability issues are very welcome. So do not just believe us; believe what the commentator is saying. Only Labor has a plan for affordability, for renters and for first home owners.