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Coalition condemns Labor housing plan to halve homeless statistics

Building at least 100,000 new affordable homes and 100,000 social housing dwellings could cut homelessness in half in 10 years, a plan suggests

The number of homeless Australians could be halved in 10 years under a plan to see more affordable and community housing established, said a leading housing group.

The Community Housing Industry Association will launch the plan on Tuesday, during an event to be attended by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. It comes as the tax debate continues and tensions between Labor and the Coalition reach new heights.

The scheme proposes building at least 100,000 new affordable homes and 100,000 new social housing dwellings across Australia by 2028. The boost would help ensure future housing needs are met and cut homeless in half, the plan suggests.

The sector has also called for a dedicated federal minister for housing and a national housing strategy. Shorten is set to address this on Tuesday, as Labor and the Coalition remained locked in a war of words over reform tax breaks for housing investors.

Labor wants to retain negative gearing only for newly built homes, with the policy being grandfathered so it will not apply to existing investors. They are also aiming to see changes made to capital tax gains, despite Coalition protests.

Aussie Home Loans Founder, John Symond, told The Australian that Labor’s policy would be a “nuclear bomb” that could tip the country into recession. He said there would be unintended consequences to the Australian economy.

“I don’t care whether it was Liberal, Labor or the Greens, if they come out with such a radical move that could tip the economy over, I’ll be outspoken,” he told the Australian. “I am concerned that it would do so much damage – unemployment, higher interest rates – it could tip us into a recession.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg spring-boarded off of these comments, saying Labor’s negative gearing proposal would be “very bad” for homeowners and renters.

“The view is it will be a terrible outcome for people with debts in their own home, people who are even looking to get into the housing market,” he told Nine Network.

But Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen lashed those remarks as a “scare campaign”, and continued a battle between the major parties that reignited in October when Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s triple-A credit rating was at risk under Labor.

“It’s all a bit embarrassing for the new treasurer, trying to walk and lie at the same time is proving a bit much,” Bowen said. “This is the problem when you have no credible economic or tax policy. Labor wants to level the playing field so all Australians can aspire and realise the dream of owning their own home.”

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