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Labor aims to take heat out of housing

by
April 21, 2017

Labor has released its housing affordability plan more than two weeks before the federal budget.

Federal Labor has released its housing affordability plan more than two weeks before the government unveils its own package in the May budget.

The opposition's measures include its much touted reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

But it also wants to limit direct borrowing by self-managed superannuation funds.

If elected to government, Labor would direct the Foreign Investment Review Board to double the application fee for residential real estate.

From July 2019, properties with a value of $1 million or less would face a $10,000 application fee, rising to more than $40,000 for those with a value of between $2 million and less than $3 million.

It would also double the maximum financial penalties for breaches of foreign investment rules.

Labor would start up a process to have the states work together to coordinate a more efficient and uniform vacant property tax across all the major cities.

A Shorten government would also take up an idea floated by Treasurer Scott Morrison for a so-called bond aggregator, which would help community housing providers access cheaper finance for new affordable rental housing.

Nearly $90 million over two years would also be poured into a new Safe Housing fund to boost homelessness support for vulnerable Australians.

Labor's plan includes:

* Re-negotiating the National Affordable Housing Agreement.

* Reinstating a housing minister.

* Re-establishing the National Housing Supply Council to provide an ongoing independent advisory body on boosting housing supply.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said the plan, announced on Friday, was good for housing, the budget and good for jobs.

The party estimates its policy would drive the construction of more than 55,000 new homes over three years and boost employment by 25,000 new jobs per year.

"The great Australian dream has turned into a nightmare on Malcolm Turnbull's watch," Mr Shorten said.

"Right now, the system is rigged against ordinary Australians."

"It's time to tackle the housing affordability crisis and give more middle and working class families a shot at home ownership."

The coalition will release its own package in the budget on May 9.

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