Public property developer would save renters and first home buyers thousands of dollars, under Greens plan


Today at the National Press Club, Greens spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness Max Chandler-Mather will announce the party’s first Federal Election policy, a public property developer that would see the federal government build homes and sell and rent them for below market prices helping renters and first home buyers. The public property developer would sit within a revived, dedicated Federal Department of Housing called the Federal Department of Sustainable Cities, Development and Housing. 

Under the Greens plan, costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office, the public property developer would build 360,000 good quality homes over the next five years (610,000 homes over the decade), and sell and rent them for a big discount. Based on the PBO’s analysis, an average renter participating in the program would save $5,200 a year on rent (19% discount on market rent)  and the average first home buyer participating in the program would save $260,000 on the cost of a home  (33% discount on the median private market house), compared with average market prices. 

The Greens plan will ensure that people’s right to a good quality public home is put ahead of developer profits. The public developer would sell the homes at just over the cost of construction to any first home buyer, while rents would be capped at 25% of household income.

Of these homes, 30% would be available to purchase and 70% would be available to rent. Unlike traditional public housing, the homes would be available to any renter or first home buyer, with 20% of the rentals allocated towards the bottom 20% of earners. The allocation would prioritise those with connection to the local area, including if they have children enrolled in local schools, work and support services connections, or if they are First Nations peoples. 

By prioritising sustainable urban design, the Greens’ plan would help build a sense of local community, ensuring that people’s homes are at the centre of a community that they would like to live, work and relax in. The developer would prioritise good quality medium density developments, working with the new Federal Department to ensure the developments are integrated with local public transport, health and education infrastructure.

Work by the public developer would be informed by innovative projects such as the design principles of the Nightingale Model; this could include incorporating rooftop gardens, 8 star energy rating, and other design principles that save on construction costs, like removing basement carparks where developments are adjacent to public and active transport.  

The net underlying cash balance cost to the budget would be $27.9 billion over the decade. By way of comparison the Federal Government spent $27 billion in rental deductions for property investors this year alone. After including construction and land costs, interest costs on debt and rental and sales income, the headline cash balance impact would be $285b over the decade. 

Extract from today's address to the National Press Club by Max Chandler-Mather MP, Greens Spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness:

The Greens will scrap the tax handouts for property investors and invest billions in building hundreds of thousands of good quality homes to be sold and rented at prices people can actually afford. 

The Greens’ public developer would save an average renter participating in the program $5200 a year on their rent, and average first home buyer participating in the program $260,000 on the price of a home, by cutting out the profit margin and building good quality homes for people, the way governments used to. 

Relying on private developers to tackle the housing crisis is like relying on Coles and Woolworths not to rip you off. They helped create the crisis in the first place, and have no interest in fixing it. 

For decades now the government has left the supply of housing to private developers, and they have catastrophically failed, making massive profits while driving up the cost of housing by deliberately restricting supply, sitting on vacant homes and blocks of land approved for development. 

Normally a private developer pockets a big profit, but the public developer would put that profit back in the pockets of renters and first home buyers in the form of lower house prices and rents.  

Labor’s plan to tackle the housing crisis is to rely on profit hungry developers to build expensive homes no one can afford, and give billions of dollars in tax handouts to property investors, which deny millions of renters the chance to buy a home. 

Labor is the party of tax handouts to property developers to build expensive penthouse apartments no one can afford. The Greens are the party for beautifully designed and well built homes at prices people actually afford. 

Labor are the party of property investors and private developers. The Greens are the party for renters and first home buyers. 

This plan would transform the lives of millions of people, whether it's the single mum who is sleeping in her car, or the young couple who have given up on the dream of ever owning a home