Dr Dorina Pojani is Associate in urban planning at the University of Queensland, Australia, with a degree in Urban Planning from Albania.
A new report finds that Australia’s housing crisis cannot be solved without a major slowing of population growth.
A fundamentally flawed proposal to bust open super for first home buyers housing deposits could hike the nation’s five major capital city median property prices by between 8-16%, preliminary analysis from Industry Super Australia shows.
Allowing couples to take $40,000 from super would send property prices skyrocketing in all state capitals, but the impact would be most severe in Sydney, where the median property price could lift a staggering $134,000. (see table 1 below)
In most areas the price increases and extra property taxes would quickly surpass the amount of super a first home buyer could withdraw, so homebuyers would be paying more but at the expense of their super. In all cities but Hobart if a couple took out $40,000 from their super, nearly all would be lost through the price hikes the increased demand would fuel, in Sydney prices would spike by three times that amount.
The market would react quickly to the scheme becoming a reality, within a year the full price increases would likely be realised.
Many potential buyers would soon be locked out of the supercharged market, others would be lumped with far bigger mortgages – and would hit retirement with little savings and only the pension to rely on.
A big loser in this scheme, being pushed by a backbench MP, is the taxpayer, who would be forced to pay billions more into the aged pension, which could lead to higher taxes.
There is no free lunch in super and for every $1 taken out of super by someone in their 30s the taxpayer must pay up to $2.50 more in increased pension costs when they retire.
But the scheme is a real winner for the banks who would reap the windfall of the inflated mortgages.
Last week Superannuation Minister Jane Hume joined a chorus of economists, housing experts and a Retirement Income Review report author who have cautioned against raiding super for housing.
The findings of ISA’s preliminary analysis backs expert warnings that such a scheme would inflate prices and make affordability worse.
ISA will soon publish a detailed technical report on its findings, a briefing report on the proposal can be found here: https://www.industrysuper.com/media/super-bad-why-super-for-a-house-will-hurt-first-home-buyers/
Industry Super Australia Chief Executive Bernie Dean, commented as follows:
“This just confirms what experts have been saying for ages; that throwing super into the housing market would be like throwing petrol on a bonfire – it will jack up prices, inflate young people’s mortgages and add billions to the aged pension, which taxpayers will have to pay for. Politicians who own multiple investment properties and pocket 15% super might think price hikes are a ‘secondary’ consideration. They don’t care about locking young people into hugely inflated mortgages and a bleak future with hardly any savings to fall back on. We need sensible solutions – like boosting the supply of affordable housing which will bring prices down and get young people into a home without lumbering workers with higher taxes in the future. We welcomed the minister pouring cold water on this idea very publicly last week and would encourage the Treasurer and the PM to back her up and show that the government is not beholden to extreme elements within its ranks.”
Previous research has shown a wide split between elite and non-elite opinion on topics such as cultural diversity, globalisation and immigration. Media professionals and most politicians share these elite views, but large swathes of the electorate do not. The current findings of the survey conducted late in 2018 by The Australian Population Research Institute (TAPRI) on attitudes to immigration and population growth confirm this. They show that the split between elite and non-elite opinion is mirrored in the divisions between voters who are university graduates and voters who are not. This is logical as most elites are now recruited from the graduate class. The gap is wide. Overall 50% of voters want a reduction in immigration. But this proportion rises to 60% of non-graduates while only 33% of graduates agree. (The October/November 2018 TAPRI survey Katharine Betts and Bob Birrell.)
Overall 72% of voters say Australia does not need more people, a proportion that rises to 80% of non-graduates and falls to only 59% of graduates (Figures 1 and 2).
But these findings nonetheless present a puzzle. Given elite domination of cultural and political institutions, why haven’t the non-graduate majority fallen into line on population growth and immigration?
To answer this question we need to look more deeply into the second major finding of the TAPRI survey: the central relationship between attitudes to the cultural consequences of high immigration and a desire for the rate of growth to be slowed right down. (See pp. 19-34.)
We now know that most Australian voters are unhappy with the heavy growth that immigration policies impose upon them. Survey data and numerous complaints about congestion and unaffordable housing attest to this. The TAPRI survey asks whether there is anything more to their disquiet than practical and economic problems.
In 2016 commentators were taken aback by two unexpected and, seemingly, unrelated events: the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US. Analysts scrambled for explanations and initially settled on the idea of voters who had been ‘left behind’, people economically pinched by the evaporation of manufacturing jobs in the heat of globalisation. These ‘left behinds’ had sought relief from their common misfortune by choosing the populist side in each of these two elections.
From this perspective the two events were related after all: economic pressures could explain them both. But now there has been time for more research and opinions have become more nuanced.
A number of analysts have found that it is not always the most destitute who have swung to the populist side. On the contrary, in both countries they are often people of middling means who are not as distressed by low wages and job losses as much as they are by the high immigration of ethnically diverse people and the cultural changes that they bring with them.
The divide is not so much between the well-to-do and the poor and unemployed. Rather it is between the graduate class, immersed in a cosmopolitan world view, and non-graduates attached to the ethos of their national home. Immigrants can share this attachment. Indeed it may have been the pull of the national culture which encouraged them to migrate in the first place. Because of this some of the new populists may be immigrants themselves.
That was the Executive Summary. You can download the entire report (88 pages) here: https://tapri.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Tapri-survey-2018-final-report-April.pdf.
We encourage you to join us in a campaign which, if supported by you, has the potential to force the state government to abandon its plans to privatise the public housing sector. This campaign is being co-ordinated by Public Interests Before Corporate Interests (PIBCI www.pibci.net) and is endorsed by PIBCI, Friends of Public Housing – Victoria and the Wednesday Action Group. We expect many more organisations to endorse this campaign over the coming weeks. Let us know if you wish to endorse the Defend and Extend Public Housing campaign: Send mail to Defend and Extend Public Housing
Dr. Joseph Toscano / Joint Convener Defend and Extend Public Housing
Co-Convenors: Dr. Joseph Toscano / Mr. John Tweg
Committee: Ms. Beryl Jarrett, Ms. Julie Jones, Mr. Roger Pereira, Ms. Fae Roth
Not in our time
We understand the Victorian Labor Cabinet has just endorsed a decision to privatise 70% of Victoria’s public housing stock. Under the guise of improving “community”, “social” and “affordable” housing, in Victoria, they have agreed to transfer the management and ownership of the majority of public housing to “community”, “social” and “affordable” housing groups that are privately owned and run. The transfer of taxpayer funded public housing to non-government organisations deals a death blow to the idea access to affordable housing for all Australians who require it is primarily a state and federal government responsibility.
A strong vibrant public housing sector not only ensures all Australians, who cannot access the private housing market, have access to affordable housing, it also places downward pressure on private rents and helps first home buyers to enter the property market as many investors will sell their private rental properties if rents fall.
Having a strong public housing sector that is owned and managed by government helps to decrease crime and family violence as well as provide a stable environment that gives children the opportunity to access educational opportunities they would not normally have access to. A strong public housing sector can be financed by using a proportion of the revenue raised by land taxes and stamp duty to maintain and update existing stock and build new public housing in Melbourne and regional Victoria.
We will be holding public rallies on the steps of the Victorian State Parliament, Spring St Melbourne, between 11:30am – 1:30pm on:
- Thursday 20th October
- Thursday 17th November
- Thursday 15th December
To demonstrate to the government, the Opposition and the cross benchers in the Legislative Council our opposition to governments outsourcing their responsibility to provide affordable housing for all Victorians to a private and not for profit non-government sector that, at best, will only be able to provide for the needs of sections of the community, not all Victorians.
We encourage you to join us in a campaign which, if supported by you, has the potential to force the state government to abandon its plans to privatise the public housing sector.
Dr. Joseph Toscano / Joint Convener Defend and Extend Public Housing
This campaign is being co-ordinated by Public Interests Before Corporate Interests (PIBCI https://www.pibci.net) and is endorsed by PIBCI, Friends of Public Housing – Victoria and the Wednesday Action Group. We expect many more organisations to endorse this campaign over the coming weeks. Let us know if you wish to endorse the Defend and Extend Public Housing campaign.
You can help by coming along to the rallies that have been planned, writing to or emailing your local, state and federal representative, advertising these rallies among your family and friends and using social media to bring this issue to the attention of as many people as possible. This is a campaign Victorians and all Australians can ill afford to lose – JOIN US NOW!!
Some recent comments reproduced here. Please contribute more. Joe Hockey seems like a nice guy, an intelligent guy, but he's just too rich to be really useful to anyone who isn't. He reminds me of Marie-Antoinette, a foreign princess who didn't want to try to understand the problems of the people and her husband. People look back and say, "How could she be so silly? Couldn't she see that the people were angry and desperate?" But, you know, she had other priorities.
He declared that "If you've got a good job and it pays good money and you have security in relation to that job, then you can go to the bank and you can borrow money and that's readily affordable". The fact that wages are not keeping up with house prices is being ignored by this buffoon, and shows just how callous and out of touch our arrogant politicians really are!
Mr Hockey made the comment at media conference in Sydney where he was being asked about rising housing prices across the country, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. He denied that housing in Sydney had become unaffordable, particularly for new entrants into the property market. Just wonder how the normal people are actually able to communicate with our leaders, in their ivory towers of affluence. How many houses must our politicians have? They just watch their profits increasing, while the masses are struggling to meet mortgage payments, or are thrown onto the streets. Older people now are in danger of homelessness, due to pension cuts and soaring housing and costs of living.
The Treasurer said rising house prices were a good thing because they enabled owners to borrow against the equity to fund new spending. After decades of paying off a house, or even part of it, how are they to see it eaten away with reverse mortgages? Houses can't be used to pay water, Council rates, electricity and everyday expenses!
(9/6/15) | SMH, [Joe Hockey's claimed] property crackdown 'won't hurt Australia' (9/6/15) | SBS
Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott are skating on thin ice with their defence of stratospheric house prices especially in Sydney. Another Liberal politician, Craig Laundy has defended Joe Hockey's recent remarks on the subject and advised the public that now is a good time to get into the property market. What happens if someone takes on a mortgage which he can just afford and then interest rates rise and he can no longer cover the repayments? Does the government bear any of the responsibility? Abbott said that he wanted prices in Sydney to rise because he has a property there (mortgaged). He is far from disinterested. Hockey says housing is not unaffordable because people are buying but that the answer to the problem that apparently is not a problem is to "build, build, build". He must know that the problem is shortage of land , land land in relation to the huge numbers of people, people, people needing housing in the areas where people want to live. He knows that the average person can only buy where land is cheap or buy in more expensive areas but have little or no land. Members of the government are skating on thin ice because they appear to be interfering in the housing market. Isn't their dictum to let markets be free? They also appear to be giving advice and to have their own interests in the asset case in which they are giving advice to the public. What they need to do is take on the responsibility of a housing safety net. This means "public housing, public housing, public housing!"
Update: See note  on where candobetter.net's values differ from those apparent on Party for Freedom site. John Ajaka, the NSW Minister for Multiculturalism's indignation at Nick Folkes's (Party for Freedom) protests against foreign property ownership in Australia would ring truer if Ajaka distanced multiculturalism from the billion dollar property development growth lobby that has captured the multicultural tag. See Background on the Australian Multicultural Foundation. Instead he sounds like a hypocrite attacking an Australian who tries to stand up to this Goliath. Unfortunately multiculturalism has become code for mass migration and a political shield for a powerful global network of engineers, banks and financiers, property developers, government departments and academic propagandists, represented by numerous peak bodies of which the Property Council of Australia is probably foremost. The Fairfax and Murdoch Press are members of this growth lobby with strong vested interests in their own huge property dot coms, realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. The major political parties are similarly invested, with the Labor Party's stake best known, but it is no Robinson Crusoe.
The multicultural cloak has been given unmerited authority and power by vested interest and protection from political figures. Nick Folkes is a working man attempting to lead protests against mass dispossession of Australian citizens by virtually unregulated foreign property buyers who are outbidding Australians and contributing to an overpriced Australian housing market.
The multiculturalist Goliath is well-organised to maintain and increase focused financial benefits from high immigration, but the Australian public, which wears the cost of mass immigration and land-speculation, has great difficulty organising to combat it.
This disorganisation of the masses is largely due to the way the Fairfax, Murdoch and ABC media manage 'public' debate to reflect the opinions of the big end of town whilst pretending to reflect those of the majority. Although population growth is a constant topic in the mass media, the media usually only publishes criticism of the growth lobby if they can pretend such criticism is laced with innuendos of racism, NIMBYism or can be stigmatised as 'ignorant'. Whilst Tony Abbott is cocooned by his party and the mainstream media against public criticism for wearing his foot in his mouth, we can expect that Nick Folkes will be afforded no such protection for speaking plainly against narrow financial interests that cost most Australians.
There are huge sums of money involved in the population growth and foreign investment that uses multiculturalism to censor criticism of its projects and muzzle those it disadvantages. According to the Foreign Investment Review Board, China overtook the United States as the biggest source of proposed foreign investment in Australia in 2013-14 and may soon 'pump $60 billion into housing' here. The ABC reports that Knight Frank property developers and realtors 'showed Chinese investment in the Sydney and Melbourne property markets doubled last year and that Chinese investors spent more on Australian real estate than on properties in London and New York for the first time'. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-29/chinese-invasion-leaflet-campaign-slammed-as-idiotic/6506412
Numbers and wedge politics
It makes you think that Pauline Hanson's speech writer was on to something when he had her say in 1996 that Australia was in danger of being 'swamped' by Asians. Americans and Canadians are still not far behind though in driving up housing prices, resource demand and development expansion over Australia's fast diminishing green spaces.
In 1996 Australia's population was 18,300,100. At 31 May 2015 it had grown by 5,306,010, that is, by more than a quarter, and was 23,838,210 (Source). From 2009 planned invited economic mass immigration of between 250,000 and 300,000 per annum far outweighed Australia's natural increase (births minus deaths) of 150,000 per annum.
Every effort has been made by the authorities to confuse the public about the numbers. In 2006 immigration statistics became uncomparable with those before 2009 after the statistical method was changed. There have been concerted mediatised wedge politics to
(a) confuse planned invited economic immigration and paying foreign students with refugees and asylum seekers, and
(b) stigmatise asylum seekers and refugees as overwhelmingly freeloaders and criminals
This confusion has divided the community, journalists and political party members.
A better informed public could unite against overpopulation that is inflating the cost of living and housing here and the illegal wars that are creating huge numbers of refugees and economic immigrants as economies and nations are destroyed by global investment in war and 'development'. Instead the wider community has been relegated to a passive and worried audience as mass media anointed 'community leaders' pontificate on the imminence of terrorism and the need to retreat into a police state or engage indefinitely overseas in wars against terrorism. (See, for example, David Kilcullen, "Blood Year,"Quarterly Essay, No.58, May 2015).
Leaflets distributed by Nick Folkes say, "Aussie battlers are being pushed to the fringes of our cities while foreign intruders are reaping the benefits of our hard-working previous generations." "The new dispossessed or forgotten people will one day be remembered as the 'stolen generation' priced out of their market by invading Chinese foreigners." He might have rephrased his proposition more 'correctly' as a complaint that organised mass migration was inflating the property market, without pointing at particular national or ethnic beneficiaries, but he wouldn't have received mass media coverage then by taking advantage of the mass media headlines which said exactly the same thing:
"Cashed-up Chinese are pricing the young out of the property market".
"Sydney house prices driven by Chinese 'bolthole' buyers".
"Chinese investors are pushing into Melbourne and Sydney."
Although some put it in triumphant economic terms:
"Real Estate: Vendors delighted as Chinese buyers flock to Glen Waverley and Mt Waverley."
"Chinese property investment through the roof: What it really means."
"China's $60 billion Australian property splurge"
It didn't matter whether the media put its articles about Chinese investment in positive or negative terms, property agents still advertised close to these stories. The developers and investors, including the newspaper property dot coms cannot lose in this globalised market as long as there is population growth.
Politics and power
Ecological groups have for years earnestly and soberly criticised trends to overpopulate Australia by citing immigration statistics and the impact of overdevelopment on Australia's environment and ecology, hardly making a ripple in the mainstream media or the awareness of the general public, despite the fact that population growth is the number one topic in the mass media. The fact is that the Australian public have been sensitised by commercial and public mass media to multiculturalism and economic terms and desensitised to ecological and scientific terms. A political movement that succeeds in mobilising Australians against population growth is likely to use the terms the public are most familiar with and those are the ones that the mass media consistently use. This is the case with Nick Folkes's Party for Freedom.
Nick Folkes is trying to register his Party for Freedom as a political party. Success could be dangerous. Tony Abbott, then parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs , organised the Australians for Honest Politics Trust in 1996, which financed litigious activity culminating in the jailing of Australian politician Pauline Hanson in 2003 on the grounds that her party was improperly constituted. See https://newmatilda.com/2012/12/11/how-abbott-funded-fight-against-one-nation. Although sentenced to prison for three years, Hanson was freed on an appeal which found that her party was in fact legally constituted. But the message had been delivered to Australian citizens and residents that if they criticise mass immigration and the industries that cultivate it, punishment will come from the top. John Howard, the Prime Minister in 2003 explained to Lateline, "It's the job of the Liberal Party to politically attack other parties," but actually, it looks as if the top job is to protect the growth lobby. Tony Abbott is now Australia’s Prime Minister.
 The title of this article was originally, "Nick Folkes a David standing up to a Multicultural Goliath," but we have changed it, regretfully. Even though Mr Folkes shows some courage in standing up to power, in the form of the multicultural property development lobby, his website features articles and comments of which we don't want to appear to approve. These comments and articles use 'scientific' theory against specific groups of peoples. For instance, one article discusses a high rate of cousin marriage in a particular people as if it were unusual or hazardous incest. That is a popular view that does not take into account the widespread role of endogamy in preserving land within a people, and other factors that need to be taken into account when assessing cousin marriage. In fact, a high rate of endogamy need not be genetically damaging; it can be beneficial, both in terms of preserving control over territory and in strengthening positive traits. Depending on the public relations, where one highly endogamous group can be stigmatised for 'inbreeding stupidity' another may be famous for 'inbreeding genius'. When assessing the impact of marriage and land-tenure traditions on genetic inheritance, environment and changes to economy, diet, and social organisation also need to be taken into account. See http://candobetter.net/node/3197 about the importance of dynasties in modern power. There is also a comment on the Party for Freedom site suggesting that a particular group of people have lower average I.Q.s that other people. IQ tests are not reliable when dealing with culture and language differences and this theory also does not take into account mass dispossession and changes to economy, diet and social organisation - and the impact of drugs and alcohol. It's a pity that the Party for Freedom does not seem to be able to see how fighting between groups weakens the ability of Australians to stand up to the powers that have overtaken national control of land, housing and economic benefits.
#txtNf2"> ↑ "Technical note: '12/16 month rule' methodology for calculating net overseas migration from September Quarter 2006 onwards." In itself this was a tragedy because Australia shared with France the distinction of havg the longest set of comparable demographic statistics in the world.
A draft of this plan only seven months ago forecast a rise from 4.3 million to 6.5 million. That 50 per cent rise would be difficult enough to cope with, but 7.7 million is over 75 per cent . In any event, the fact that the projection has altered so radically is further
evidence that estimates of Melbourne's future population are totally unreliable.
Indeed Melbourne's population growth in recent years has far outpaced previous Government estimates.
The consequences of a 7.7 million population for Melbourne will be dramatic. Traffic congestion will be horrific. Housing prices will continue to skyrocket, leaving home ownership out of reach for young people. People will not be able to afford anything other than an apartment or a unit, and gardens and backyards will increasingly
become a thing of the past.
Grey infrastructure (freeways, drainage and sewerage systems etc) will proliferate, at the expense of green infrastructure (public open space and trees and shrubs on private land) and blue infrastructure (creeks, rivers, and beaches). Melbourne will become hotter as climate change is reinforced by the urban heat island effect.
According to Plan Melbourne a 7.7 million population would require over one and a half million more dwellings, of which 960,000 would occur in "established" areas, and 610,000 will occur in "growth" areas. In other words Melbourne will continue to grow both upwards and outwards, continuing its path to becoming an obese, hardened artery parody of its former self. By 2031, in the next 17 years, we will see 470,000 more people in the northern suburbs, 430,000 more in the west, 480,000 more in the south, 200,000 more in the east, and 280,000 more in Central Melbourne.
Accomplishing this will inevitably involve trampling over the rights of residents, who have time and time again indicated that they do not want their neighbourhoods and communities to change in this way.
#10;https://www.facebook.com/01victoria">Victoria First was formed as a non-government organisation last year to campaign against this kind of population growth. We believe that returning Australia's migration levels to those of the 1980s and 1990s will stop this rapid population growth and help us protect and pass on the things about Melbourne that make it a great place to live.
Anyone interested in joining Victoria First can contact the Secretary, Julianne Bell,
on (M) 0408 022 408.
Contact: Kelvin Thomson MP (M) 0458 750 700
NB: in fact, since this recent Media Release, the population of Victoria has been revised again and will now be "projected" at missile speed towards 10 million by 2050!