Opposition leader slams Labor's plan to fund new homes

Peter Dutton says he'll stick with Scott Morrison's scheme

Opposition leader slams Labor's plan to fund new homes

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has vowed to stand by former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plan to allow first-home buyers to use their superannuation to buy a house. Dutton argued that the Morrison plan is a better use of retirement savings for housing than Labor’s plan to urge super funds and other institutional investors to fund 1 million new homes.

In his first budget-in-reply speech Thursday, Dutton said he would extend the option to women who separate later in life, who had “very few housing options and those who are increasingly homeless.”

Dutton said the Labor plan, which intends to build the homes between 2024 and 2029, was unrealistic, according to a report by The Australian Financial Review.

“The design features will end up wasting billions of dollars and deliver little, if anything, to home buyers,” Dutton said.

Dutton said that Labor was treating super savings as its own money by demanding that funds invest in home building, while removing transparency provisions regarding how those funds use money, AFR reported.

“Your super is your money. The government thinks it’s their money, something we have seen in this budget,” Dutton said. “They want your super to invest in someone else’s home, not your own. At the same time, they want super funds to be less transparent with what they do with your money. The Coalition has a strong record when it comes to getting first-home buyers and single-parent families into their own home.”

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Morrison announced the Super Home Buyer Scheme a week before the May 21 federal election. The program would allow first-home buyers to use up to $50,000 from their superannuation account to buy property. To preserve the buyer’s retirement savings, the money withdrawn for the home and the proportionate capital gain would have to be returned to the buyer’s super fund when the property was sold.

Dutton also blasted Labor’s election promise to cut average household power bills by $275 a year with its renewable energy push. After the budget forecast a 56% price increase for electricity over this and the next financial year, Labor backpedaled on the pledge, which it argued was made before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“What we’re seeing in our energy markets right now, the blame for that rests squarely with Vladimir Putin,” Treasurer Jim Chalmers said Thursday.

But Dutton said the Ukraine conflict accounted for only part of the problem. He said that Labor risked repeating the “catastrophic energy decisions” made by other nations that rushed “recklessly” towards renewable energy, AFR reported.

Dutton said that meant the 56% price hike was “just the beginning.”

“Struggling manufacturers will be forced to move their operations offshore,” he said. “Should that occur, there will be no net benefit to the global environment – just a net loss of Australian jobs, income and sovereign capabilities. Labor is going to phase out coal and gas before the new technology has been developed and rolled out.”