Greens to vote against Help to Buy scheme unless Labor makes changes to negative gearing

One of Anthony Albanese’s major election promises is in doubt after the Greens announced plans to kill Labor’s Help to Buy scheme unless the government meets its demands.

The shared equity scheme, which would allow 40,000 first home buyers over five years the chance to co-purchase their home with the government for as little as a two per cent deposit, will be voted on in the House of Representatives this week.

The Greens have described the scheme as a “housing lottery” that would push up prices for the overwhelming majority of renters wishing to enter the housing market – a claim the government has denied as unfounded.

Greens leader Adam Bandt said if the Prime Minister was serious about fixing the housing crisis, he would come to the table in limiting rent increases, building more public housing and phasing out negative gearing and capital gains tax.

“Unless Labor is prepared to work with the Greens to fix negative gearing and capital gains tax handouts, cap rents and build public housing, the Greens will vote against Labor’s ‘lottery’ bill,” he said.

Buoyed by their success in negotiating with the government during last year’s fight over the Housing Australia Future Fund, Mr Bandt said “pressure works” and would not back down in their demands for Labor’s last housing policy before the next election.

The government doesn’t need the minor party’s support to pass it through the lower house, but it’s a different story in the Senate where the Greens hold the balance of power in lieu of the Coalition’s support.

Mr Bandt said the party would “reserve its position” in the senate.

Labor won’t negotiate on Help to Buy, and Mr Albanese has maintained the government is “not looking” at the tax concessions for Australians with more than one home, and has routinely ruled out capping rent increases.

Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather said he was incredulous that the Prime Minister has refused to scrap “massive tax handouts for property investors” that were pricing “millions of renters” out of the chance to buy a home, while pushing through a bill that would further exacerbate house prices.

“It should not be the case that a first-time buyer at an auction loses to a property investor who gets massive tax handouts from this Labor government,” he said.

“The ball is in Labor’s court. Unless we see movement on the things that are pushing house prices out of the reach of millions of renters across the country and a fix to negative gearing and capital gains tax handouts, capping of rents and building public housing, we will vote against it.”

Speaking in Question Time, Housing Minister Julie Collins said the scheme would help “get more people into home ownership”.

When she introduced the Bill to the house last year, Ms Collins said it would provide “long term relief” for participants in the scheme.

“It will be the first national shared equity scheme of its kind,” she said in November.

“Help to Buy will be delivered through Housing Australia and will assist Australians to overcome both the hurdle of saving for a deposit and servicing a mortgage.”

Read related topics:Anthony Albanese

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