Federal Treasurer delivers AHURI Lecture

Pre-budget address focusses on home ownership and the rental market

10 Apr 2017

The Hon Scott Morrison

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered an hour-long pre-budget address on housing affordability hosted by AHURI at the State Library in Melbourne on Monday 10 April. The speech focused not only on affordability challenges to do with home ownership, but also the difficulties faced by Australians in the rental market, particularly those in social and affordable housing. The Treasurer stated that owning a home is one of the three core economic goals for Australian families, together with having a job and an independent retirement, and that having their own home sets up families and their children for the best options for the future. However, the Treasurer also acknowledged the importance of the rental sector. He quoted from AHURI research that identified people renting in the private rental market, especially families with children, need long-term secure, affordable tenure in homes that are close to the services that they need.

The Treasurer maintained that small scale ‘mum and dad’ investors have a vital role to play in providing rental housing for the mainstream private rental market, and that disrupting negative gearing would lead to disruption of the Australian housing market. He also sees a growing role for large-scale institutional investors, such as superannuation funds, funding affordable rental housing for low-income households that is managed by housing associations.

Dr Ian Winter (AHURI) and the Hon Scott Morrison

To encourage large-scale investors, governments have to reduce the risk of investing in affordable housing, and the bond aggregator model is one such option. This model allows community housing providers to access funds from the bond market at lower rates than they would pay if borrowing from a bank.

The Treasurer stressed that fixing the problems of housing unaffordability will require Federal, State, Territory and local governments working carefully, and over time, in a bipartisan approach with housing associations, developers, not-for-profit providers and investors in the private rental market.

The video of the speech can be viewed below and a transcript is available here.