Strong na­tional fo­cus cru­cial

Whitsunday Times - - REAL ESTATE -

EN­SUR­ING a strong na­tional fo­cus on hous­ing is crit­i­cal to re­tain­ing Aus­tralia’s AAA credit rat­ing, says the Hous­ing In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion (HIA).

“Res­i­den­tial build­ing ac­tiv­ity has been the en­gine room of the Aus­tralian econ­omy for the past four years,” HIA’s chief econ­o­mist Har­ley Dale said.

“It has filled the void left by a con­tract­ing mining sec­tor, and has gained some ground on a decade of un­der sup­ply in new hous­ing,” he said.

“But there’s much more that needs to be done if Aus­tralia is to de­fend its AAA credit rat­ing.”

Dr Dale said the in­com­ing Com­mon­wealth Gov­ern­ment needed to fo­cus on build­ing new homes for the coun­try’s grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, meet­ing the hous­ing needs of the na­tion’s chang­ing de­mo­graph­ics, ad­dress­ing the hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity challenges con­fronting younger gen­er­a­tions, sup­port­ing the 321,595 busi­nesses that op­er­ate across the res­i­den­tial build­ing in­dus­try, and im­por­tantly, en­abling the in­dus­try to grow and ex­pand its con­tri­bu­tion to the Aus­tralian econ­omy.

“The in­dus­try gen­er­ates over $160 bil­lion in na­tional GDP each year, con­trib­utes $77 bil­lion in taxes, pro­vides jobs for over one mil­lion work­ers and touches the lives of ev­ery Aus­tralian ev­ery day,” he said.

“Aus­tralia needs a Hous­ing Min­is­ter to pro­vide na­tional lead­er­ship, to co-or­di­nate fed­eral, state and lo­cal gov­ern­ment hous­ing pro­grams, to guide im­por­tant in­dus­try pol­icy re­form, and en­sure hous­ing has a front seat in cab­i­net dis­cus­sions around tax­a­tion re­form, na­tional bud­get re­pair, in­fras­truc­ture and work­force de­vel­op­ment.”

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