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Politics with Michelle Grattan: Andrew Bragg flags a coalition would use ‘coercion’ of the states to get more new houses built

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Andrew Bragg flags a coalition would use ‘coercion’ of the states to get more new houses built

Housing remains one of Australia’s most pressing issues in both state and federal politics. The RBA keeping rates up and high mortgage repayments have left many Australians struggling. For those Australians who don’t own a home, it’s becoming increasingly hard to get into the housing market.

The opposition has blamed the high levels of migration for why Australians feel so much housing pain. Peter Dutton has promised to reduce the permanent migration program (which brings in many skilled workers) as part of getting net overseas migration down. He says more than 100,000 homes could be freed up over five years.

To discuss the oppositions plan, we’re joined by Shadow Assistant Minister for Home Ownership Senator Andrew Bragg.

Andrew Bragg explains why the coalition sees migration as a critical issue when it comes to housing supply.

Ultimately, you need to get the ratios back into whack. Now, just five years ago, you had a situation where you were bringing 260,000 people in and building over 200,000 houses. In the last year you’re having 600,000 people come in the country, but you’re only building 170,000 houses. So, you have to calibrate the ratios.

When it comes to the actual building of new homes Bragg sees problems at state level, and he has a drastic solution.

The [federal] government’s policy has been to pay the states to build houses. That has not worked, and I think we need to go one step further and look at coercion. We can’t fund the local governments directly because there’s a constitutional issue, but we do need to look at how we can fund states or not fund states.

There are councils like Camden, Liverpool, Campbelltown. They all want to build houses, they want the density. But in some cases it takes them two years to get the water turned on. So while the state premier might be supporting development, the agencies are dragging the chain. So I think coercion is probably the most likely step.

Finally, on Women in the Liberal party, Bragg lays out the direction he sees for the party:

In terms of the selection of women, it is true that we have far too few in the House of Representatives, and that is something that the members ultimately need to fix. We’re not a command and control party. Now, the members will make their own judgements about who they want, and we need to encourage the members to consider these factors because we need to be a party that looks like modern Australia.

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