The “Help to Buy” shared equity program proposed by Labor will be the following housing scheme that the Greens will target as part of the minority party’s effort to place a ceiling or freeze on rent hikes.
Adam Bandt, the leader of the Greens, has promised to “keep fighting” even though the small party has agreed to pass Labor’s $10 billion Housing Australia future fund (Haff) bill in exchange for an additional $1 billion for public and community housing.
The Green Party room held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the next phase of their campaign, which included future housing legislation in which the party is in the balance of power as well as an election campaign targeting Labor-held seats including Macnamara and Richmond. The meeting took place.
Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister of Australia, made the announcement that the “Help to Buy” program will begin operations in 2024 during the Labor Party’s national convention. The program would assist approximately 10,000 potential purchasers each year by taking an equity stake in their homes equal to thirty percent (for an existing build) or forty percent (for a new build). This would result in smaller deposits and lower interest rates on loans for the owner’s portion.
The plan, however, necessitates legislation at both the state and the federal level, and it has been earmarked by the Greens as the next housing policy that would stir up the debate on rent caps.
“The Greens will be in the balance of power on a number of bills throughout the rest of this parliament,” Bandt told Australia.
We are going to continue to press for a cap and a freeze on rent increases. We are going to make the most of every opportunity to advocate for a rent cap and rent freeze. This battle hasn’t even started yet.”
Bandt stated that the Green Party will come to a conclusion “if and when” the “help to buy” bill was presented to the parliamentary chamber. “But we’re making the general point that in order to maintain a balance of power, we’re going to continue to push for a cap and freeze on rent increases,”
Labor is opposed to rent caps due to the worries that they will reduce the supply of rental properties, as well as the opposition of state and territory governments, which have constitutional power for housing.
During the time allotted for questions, the treasurer, Jim Chalmers, made the argument that tenants were “paying the price for the wasted decade of missed opportunities” as a result of the Coalition. Julie Collins, the Minister of homes, stated that the Housing Affordability Fund (Haff) would provide “a pipeline of funding to help build social and affordable housing right across the country.”
Advocates for tenants and individuals who are facing homelessness hailed the Haff pact as a positive step, but they also urged the Greens to maintain their pressure on Labor.
The Everybody’s Home campaign’s spokesperson, Maiy Azize, stated that the total of $3 billion in direct expenditure on housing demonstrated that “pressure works” and that “renters and people who need housing are more powerful” than was previously believed.
When Azize was asked about the Green Party using the help-to-buy plan as more leverage, he responded by saying “We should take every opportunity to get as much as we can for social housing and better outcomes for renters.”
The chief executive officer of the NSW Tenants’ Union, Leo Patterson Ross, stated that the government is “going to have to take renters issues more seriously.”
He stated that it was “appropriate to consider” whether the assistance to purchase scheme was the most appropriate support or “better relief for the rental sector is a better use of resources.” He said that it was “appropriate to consider” whether the help-to-buy scheme was the most appropriate support.
“The emphasis on home ownership results in higher prices and a worse renting experience for those who are unable to purchase a home; as a result, we ought to question [support for buyers].”
Max Chandler-Mather, the housing spokesperson for the Green Party, continued to warn that Labor was hurting tenants by allowing rises of an unlimited magnitude even after the national cabinet agreed in August to limit rent increases to once per year. The agreement to limit rent increases was made by the national cabinet.
On Tuesday, Chandler-Mather admitted that while the party wasn’t “able to convince Labor to care about the one-third of this country who rents, I don’t think anyone could accuse us of not fighting as hard as we possibly could”
Chandler-Mather stated on Radio National that the Greens intended to coerce the Labor party into adopting rent caps; nevertheless, “if it takes maybe going to the next election and losing hundreds of thousands, if not millions of votes to renters, because Labor refuse to come to the table… then so be it,” she said.
“In a way, that’s how our democratic system operates.”