Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen speaks in the Omnibus Bill at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 14 September 2016. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesThe minister charged with pulling together the Turnbull government’s looming housing affordability package has suggested ns could be allowed to use superannuation when buying their first home but that such a change would have to be a part of broader reforms. Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, who is spruiking housing affordability as a key platform of the May budget, said any changes on the “demand side” such as superannuation reform could work if supply in the housing market was also increased.
“If all a government does is try to pump further liquidity into the residential housing market, inevitably all you do is push up housing prices,” Mr Sukkar told Sky News on Tuesday.
In response to questions about super amendments being on the table, Mr Sukkar said 2014 comments from Finance Minister Mathias Cormann that allowing people to access super would only drive up house prices in isolation, were “largely correct,” but any changes would be “finely calibrated to make sure we are not lazily pumping more money into the market.”
“We’ve got to be a bit more sophisticated about it and I’m confident we will be,” he said.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor would oppose any move to raid super, labelling the idea “stupid”.
“Early access to superannuation for a home deposit would undermine retirement savings, create new financial risks, and ultimately serve no credible purpose other than bidding up the price of housing and pushing home ownership further out of reach of young aspirating ns,” he said.
On Monday, Treasurer Scott Morrison singled out initiatives by the Victorian government to put a tax on unoccupied housing to relieve market pressure.
“We are looking to encourage all of these types of initiatives,” he told Bloomberg.
Mr Sukkar echoed Mr Morrison’s comments.
“We don’t want any properties empty, people can do what they want with their assets, but I think moves by some state governments to try and encourage those who own properties to actually have them tenanted are good in principle,” he said, before talking tough on foreign investors increasing demand in the property market.
“On the one hand we are a county that welcomes foreign investment, on the other hand we are a government who says foreign investment has to be on our terms and has to be in our national interest,” he said.
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