Lacklustre policies will do nothing for housing crisis

Opinion 2In trying to defend the Turnbull Government’s inadequate housing plan, the Assistant Treasurer is back to running the same excuses he did before the Budget. Mr Sukkar recently wrote that, “state, territory and local governments pull most of the levers that affect housing affordability” and that “there is simply not enough supply to keep up with demand”.

This narrow analysis will do nothing to get people into secure, affordable housing.

Mr Sukkar was far more bullish before the Budget, saying the government’s package would be ‘extraordinarily large’ and ‘it will be an impressive package, it will be a well-received package.’ Yet the Grattan Institute’s John Daley said “you’ll need a scanning electron microscope to see an impact on prices”.

Whether for home buyers or renters, people on middle or very low incomes, the government’s ‘centrepiece without a centrepiece’, as National Shelter called it, will make little or no difference to the housing crisis. In the case of their superannuation saver accounts, it will make it worse by pushing up prices.

The sad fact is that there was a housing affordability crisis before the Budget, and there will continue to be one while the Liberals are in power because the Turnbull Government has failed to reform capital gains tax and negative gearing.

Fundamentally, the government’s housing policies fail the fairness test. The vast majority of the benefits of negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions go to the wealthiest in the community. The Treasurer’s capitulation on tax makes much of the rest of their package inadequate.

In contrast, Labor is the only party with a plan to increase affordable housing supply and tackle distortions caused by the most generous tax concessions in the world.

Labor’s policy promotes a level playing field for those trying to buy a home. Labor’s policy also supports renters and people experiencing homelessness, particularly the growing number of women at risk of homelessness.

Senator Doug Cameron

Massive Labour Day turnout reflects the strength of our unions

EditorialIf the turnout at the 2017 Labour Day in Brisbane is any indication of the potency of the union movement, then there is little doubt that it is truly going from ‘strength to strength’.

An estimated 20,000 union members and their families marched under a pleasant and sunny, Brisbane sky – all eager to demonstrate their very clear support for workers rights, and in particular, the retention of weekend penalty rates, now under threat.

Some people may claim that unions are on the wane, however, the impressive attendance and strong show of support is clear tesIMG_4564timony as to the resilience and determination of our unions – and their members – to stand up for the rights of Queensland workers.

Speaking to an enthusiastic Labour Day crowd, newly elected ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus reminded her audience about the important role our unions will play in continuing the fight against the abuses of workers entitlements as well as campaigning for a fairer economy for all. Given her very public profile in recent weeks, no one can question her tenacity, passion and sheer endurance in the ongoing battle exacerbated by a ruthless and cunning anti-worker Coalition Government.

IMG_4533Sally reminds us that we have a federal government unable or clearly unwilling to rein in escalating corporate greed which is seeing billions of dollars going overseas rather than being spent on our nation and its future. Her vision of an active, progressive and robust union movement is sorely needed at a time when social and economic inequality is rising.

However, with the calibre of the people in our unions, from Sally as ACTU Secretary to the rank and file member taking to the streets to support their fellow workers, we can be assured that the future of our union movement is secure.