Australia’s PM, trailing in election polls, announces housing policy

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends the Third Leaders’ Debate at Seven Network Studios during the 2022 Federal Election campaign, in Sydney, Australia May 11, 2022. Mick Tsikas/Pool via REUTERS

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May 15 (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced a housing policy aimed at boosting home ownership and curbing high prices, as his government lags behind the opposition Labor Party a few days before the general elections.

Australians will vote for a government on Saturday, with recent polls showing Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition set to lose to centre-left Labour, which would end nine years of Conservative government. Read more

Morrison’s Liberal Party officially launched its campaign in Brisbane on Sunday, with Morrison detailing housing policy at the event in a final appeal to voters.

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“It will increase the opportunity for people to downsize and increase the supply of family housing in the market,” Morrison said.

The policy aims to encourage older Australians to sell homesteads, Morrison said. It would allow people over the age of 55 to sell a home and invest up to A$300,000 ($200,000) in a retirement fund outside existing limits.

The policy aims to put downward pressure on high house prices in an election campaign dominated by concerns over the cost of living, national security and climate change.

Morrison said a re-elected coalition government would allow first-time home buyers to use a “responsible portion” of their retirement savings to buy a home, calling it a “game changer” for thousands of families.

The campaign launch comes after Morrison vowed on Saturday to be more empathetic if re-elected, after admitting he could be a ‘bulldozer’ and vowing to change. Read more

Labor leader Anthony Albanese backed the housing initiative for older Australians, describing it as a “modest announcement”.

His party said if it won government it would spend A$1 billion on advanced manufacturing to boost jobs and diversify the country’s industrial base.

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Reporting by Samuel McKeith in Sydney; Editing by William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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