THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Government’s Economic Policy Shambles; Negative Gearing and House Prices
CHALMERS: Well, the wheels have come off Malcolm Turnbull's dishonest and unhinged scare campaign as it relates to negative gearing and house prices. The Government has been caught out trying to simultaneously argue that Labor's negative gearing plan will send house prices up at the same time as it will send them down. That's a real symbol of the confusion and chaos that reigns in economic policy in the Government at the moment.
It's long past time for the Government to put on the table a credible economic plan. It's long past time, after two-and-a-half years, for the Government to reveal their own plans on tax reform, in particular.
There are reports in the newspaper today that Malcolm Turnbull plans to make retrospective changes to negative gearing. We call on the Government to table those plans. We call on the Government to ditch any idea of a retrospective change to negative gearing, which would be a damaging change. Our policy on negative gearing is not retrospective. One of the reasons that we will see sustainable house price increases with our plan is because it's not retrospective and because it's got a long lead time. The reports in the paper today are very disturbing that Malcolm Turnbull plans to make retrospective changes to negative gearing.
It's long past time for him to end the chaos and confusion and to put on the table a credible plan for tax reform. We've done that, we've filled the void left by the absence of economic leadership on the Government side. We have a fully-costed plan which will level the playing field between investors and first home buyers, boost construction jobs, boost supply, fund health and education, and underwrite the future of this country.
JOURNALIST: We had Andrew Laming out here arguing that this will hurt mum and dad investors at a time when they're doing it tough. What's your response to that?
CHALMERS: Well the desperate and unhinged scare campaign from the Government was blown up yesterday by Kelly O'Dwyer's comments. They were caught out yesterday trying to simultaneously argue that Labor's negative gearing plan will send house prices up and down at the same time. They have become a laughable farce when it comes to economic policy in this country. Whether it's Andrew Laming or Malcolm Turnbull, they have no credibility. We saw that yesterday. Yesterday's farce was a symbol of the chaos and confusion that reigns in economic policy in the Government at the moment. We will see more of that today. We're calling on the Government to table their plans for negative gearing and to ensure that those plans aren't retrospective.
JOURNALIST: Is there any chance that the reforms that Labor has put on the table will make new houses increase in price and older houses decrease, though?
CHALMERS: No, there's very credible modelling from independent experts that shows that we would expect to see sustainable house price increases across the board. The reason for that has been because of that long lead time, and also the fact that our changes aren't retrospective. I encourage you and I urge you to check out the analysis by independent experts like Saul Eslake, like Richard Holden and others who point out that our plan will level the playing field between investors and first home buyers. We will still see sustainable house price increases but it will take some of the speculation out of the market.