Labor has lashed his refusal to reform the property investment tax breaks as “weak opposition” based on pure politics instead of sound policy.
Several Liberals, including Sydney MP John Alexander – who chaired a recent inquiry into housing affordability – are urging the Turnbull government to rethink its opposition to reining in negative gearing.
But the prime minister is adamant building more dwellings is the secret to curbing property prices.
“There is a tendency for people, particularly on the left, to overlook the fundamental reality that the reason housing affordability has deteriorated is simply because demand has consistently been exceeding supply,” he told Neil Mitchell on 3AW today.
“We have not been building enough dwellings.”
Turnbull said the vast majority of people harnessing negative gearing were middle-income earners.
“There are vastly more teachers and police doing this than high-flying lawyers and tax accountants,” he said.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said any housing affordability reforms without changes to negative gearing were a sham.
“Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison now say that housing affordability is a priority but the only policy they have is to get rich parents or leave town,” he said.
“Scott Morrison is visiting London to find out what he can do about housing affordability in Australia, while his own backbench are telling him the answer is to address negative gearing.”
Finance Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer defended the government’s retention of negative gearing, saying there was no silver bullet to tackling property prices.
“All levels of government have to work together to make sure that people can afford to purchase a home and can afford to rent a home,” she said.
“The worst thing that could be done is Labor’s proposal, which is to smash negative gearing, to actually take so many people out of the market who currently use negative gearing at the moment.”
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