Housing policy: Anthony Albanese holds firm as Greens pitch fight on negative gearing

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Anthony Albanese has vowed to stare down the Greens after they threatened to hold up the government’s next tranche of housing reforms.

The Greens have fired the first shot in what is set to be another war over housing, indicating they won’t support Labor’s Help to Buy scheme unless the government is prepared to overhaul negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

The scheme, which Labor hopes to pass this year, would offer a government equity stake to to 10,000 first home buyers a year – essentially allowing lower- and middle-income Australians to co-purchase a home with the government with a smaller deposit.

The Coalition had ruled out its support, meaning Labor needs the Greens and two crossbenchers to pass the legislation.

Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather said the scheme was a “housing lottery” that would only “push up house prices” and fail to help the majority of eligible renters and would-be first home buyers.

Mr Chandler-Mather said in order to “stop pushing up” house prices, Labor must limit negative gearing and capital gains tax handouts, and redirect the saved revenue to public housing.

He said “pressure works” – referencing the concessions made to stage 3 tax cuts.

“Property prices and rents are growing way faster than wages, putting home ownership even further out of reach for millions of people, and we can’t fix this until the government stops handing out billions of dollars in tax concessions to big property investors, Mr Chandler-Mather said.

The Prime Minister has warned the minor party against partaking in “juvenile” political tactics to block the scheme.

“This shows the Greens hypocrisy… This (scheme) is a way of getting people out of the rental market and into the home ownership market,” Mr Albanese said on Monday.

“We won’t be talking with them about (negative gearing). We simply this that this (scheme) has merit.

“If they want to argue… If they want to block it, that’s a decision for them. They’ll be accountable for it.”

Mr Albanese said the government had no plans to tinker with the investment property tax concessions.

“We have no intention to (touch it),” he said.

Housing Minister Julie Collins accused the Greens of “standing in the way” of aspirational Australians who wanted to get into the property market.

“In 2024, we’ll be delivering more help for homebuyers, more help for renters and more help for Australians needing a safe place for the night,” she said during Question Time.

“That’s why the Greens and the Liberals need to stop standing in the way of more assistance like Help to Buy. They’re standing in the way of vital new assistance to help renters into the security of home ownership.”

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