DREAMING: A comfortable home to call their own is just a dream for some Tweed Shire residents.
DREAMING: A comfortable home to call their own is just a dream for some Tweed Shire residents. Ingram Publishing

‘How I’d solve the Tweed’s housing crisis’

CANDIDATES vying for the Federal seat of Richmond agree there’s a housing affordability crisis on the Northern Rivers, but they disagree on some of the solutions.

Richmond Labor incumbent Justine Elliot has talked up her party’s intention to phase out negative gearing if Bill Shorten wins at the July 2 poll because the party believes it is fuelling the problem in areas like the North Coast.

Under the policy, from July 1 next year, Labor would limit negative gearing to new properties.

“This will encourage more investment in the construction of new homes, which will in turn increase the supply of housing and improve affordability,” Mrs Elliot said.

“Labor’s policy will also stimulate jobs in the construction sector.

“This policy is fair because it will not have any impact on existing property owners, or people that use negative gearing for business purposes.

“The current arrangements for negative gearing are pushing investors into the market for existing properties.”

But Nationals candidate Matthew Fraser believes abolishing negative gearing would diminish the supply of rental homes and drive up rents.

“We need a decent supply of investment properties to meet rental demand and keep rents low,” Mr Fraser said. “Furthermore, we must remember that the vast majority of people who use negative gearing are working families.

“Around two-thirds of users have a taxable income of $80,000 or less, and 70% of property investors have just one property.”

Dawn Walker for The Greens said her party also favoured the National Housing Affordability Plan which included phasing out the “over generous” negative gearing and capital gains tax discount arrangements to save $127.1 billion over 10 years.

“Negative gearing overwhelmingly benefits wealthy investors and drives up prices for everyone,” she said.

Neil Smith, who is standing for One Nation, was advocating for a large injection of funds into social housing financed by a “complete revolution” of the tax system which made the top end of town pay its fair share of tax. The party also believes anyone under 38 years of age should have access to their superannuation to allow them a deposit on a house for personal use only and not as an investment property.

Russell Kilarney from the Christian Democratic Party said they wanted to repeal “unjust taxes and regulations” which added to the cost of housing when launched on the market.

The party wants to make home payments tax deductible to a determined means-tested threshold. It also supports taxpayer funded housing for those genuinely unable to meet their own housing needs.

Angela Pollard from the Animal Justice Party said access to affordable housing with space for pets was a must, although the party did not have a specific housing policy. “We believe it is important for people in our community to have access to housing regardless of their economic circumstances, and this would include rental accommodation where people could house their companion animals with them,” she said.



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