Nine dangerous words

Ronald Reagan once said that the nine most dangerous words in the English language were: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

The truth that Reagan was referring to is that we should be wary about government cures that could end up being worse than the symptoms they treat.

We all want to see a change in the trajectory of housing affordability. For two generations, Australia has been a world leader in terms of the proportion of Australians buying their own home.

But things have changed for today's young Australians, partly as a direct result of poor government policies.

The increased focus on housing affordability from our political leaders is very welcome. But we have a responsibility to resist ideas which do harm – to jobs, supply and housing affordability.

Last week the news broke that the government is considering a radical change to capital gains tax which would have treated property different than every other asset class. Given the conflicting reports of the past few days, this appears to be a live option for the government.

I assure you that we are vigorously opposing any change that will result in differing tax rates for different asset classes.

With the government working on a housing affordability package for the federal Budget, the Property Council is taking nothing for granted.

Our determination is to offer all sides of politics credible and authentic policy ideas to address housing affordability – ideas that aren’t ideological but are practical.

Our work on City Deals has been adopted by both sides, our proposals to encourage planning reform through a national incentive payment scheme is on the agenda – and we wait to see the funding behind it in this year’s Budget.

We are also encouraging the government to embrace ideas like the WA Key Start scheme which is helping more people bridge the deposit gap.

As well, we need more institutional investment in housing supply and I will be sharing more about that next week.

The problem of housing affordability won’t be solved by increasing taxes on property, but by increasing the supply of housing. Let's hope this time around Reagan can be proven wrong.