Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces housing policy before general election

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday (May 15) announced a new policy before the general election next week.

Admitting “not everything went to plan” during the country’s pandemic response, Morrison said the new housing policy is aimed at boosting home ownership and curbing high prices.

Insisting that now Australia is “heading in the right direction,” Morrison added that a re-elected coalition government would allow first home buyers to use a “responsible portion” of their superannuation savings to buy a house.

Calling it “a game-changer” for thousands of families, Morrison said, “This will increase the opportunity for people to downsize, and increase the supply of family housing stock in the market.”

Talking about the Covid-19 pandemic, Morrison said “It has been one of the most challenging times we have ever known.”

According to the new policy, first-time buyers can use their pension savings to purchase a home, which is likely to make the policy popular among young Australians struggling to get access to a turbocharged property market.

It also enables Australian citizens above the age of 55 to sell a home and invest up to A$300,000 ($200,000) in a superannuation fund outside existing caps. 

Also read | Early voting begins in Australia election with opposition ahead in polls

Morrison’s Liberal Party is currently trailing behind the opposition Labor Party in election polls ahead of the May 21 vote.

Political analysts believe that this is a result of Morrison’s rejected calls for ambitious climate targets even though polls consistently show around 70 per cent of Australians want more action on climate change.

They have that the new housing policy, which is an effort to put downward pressure on high house prices in an election campaign that has been dominated by cost-of-living concerns, can stoke inflation further. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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