Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has flown to London to seek advice on housing affordability as Malcolm Turnbull attempts to prioritise the issue.
The Government is looking at implementing a housing bond aggregator to give affordable housing providers cheap and lengthy tenor debt for the construction of new homes.
Britain has had success with a housing bond aggregator and the idea was recommended to Australian state and federal treasurers in a report handed down late last year. So Mr Morrison has hopped on a plane to the UK for advice on the matter, and other trade discussions.
In 2014-15 Britain’s Housing Finance Corporation issued over $6.55 billion in Australian dollars in loans to housing agencies.
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond also announced recently that his nation would double their capital expenditure on housing that would include a housing infrastructure fund.
Mr Hammond said housing affordability was an unacceptable drag on Britain’s productivity and fixing the problem was a matter of urgency. Malcolm Turnbull seems to be following that train of thought here in Australia.
In recent times Mr Turnbull has stepped up the focus on affordability, moving past his previous stance of trying to encourage the states to build more homes to ease the problem.
Mr Turnbull has now appointed Michael Sukkar as assistant minister to the Treasurer with a special focus on housing affordability.
“This is an extraordinarily high priority for the PM,” Mr Sukkar told Fairfax Media.
“This was made clear to me when I was offered the role. It’s an issue that has rightly gathered steam over recent years.”
“We’ll need to lead by example and with the levers that we control ensure that they are being pulled to address housing affordability to the greatest extent possible…and perhaps incentivising the states to make some of the reforms they need to as well.”