Mrs ARMITAGE (Launceston ) - Mr President, I also share the concerns of many who have spoken. I recall receiving a First Home Owner Grant when I first built a house. From my perspective that certainly helped and enabled me to go into my first home.
But I have a problem with the bill before us being for new home buyers. I do not agree with the speakers who say it inflates home prices. As a previous real estate agent, I can assure you that when we were selling a home we had a price on that home and you tried to get the best price you could. Whether or not the prospective buyer was a receiver of a First Home Owner Grant made absolutely no difference to the price of the house. You tried to get the best price. If they had their $7 000, well, so be it. They might have been able to purchase the home, but it certainly did not inflate the price of the home. What it did do was allow them to get a deposit. Many times that extra $7 000 went towards their deposit and enabled them to get into home ownership. That is some of the problem I see here, that it is denying a group in the community the ability to purchase a home, as has been mentioned by the member for Rosevears.
There are only a certain number of people out there who can buy a house and land package or a new home. As I have mentioned before, I have four sons in Western Australia. Two of them have just purchased home and land packages, and one purchased an already-built home. They were both able to get First Home Owner Grants. Why should the one who decided to build a new home be able to get a grant and the one who decided to buy something closer to the city that was probably about the same price as the land package, not be able to get the grant? It is inequitable and I do not see that as fair.
I listened to and understand the arguments of the members for Hobart and Rumney, saying that maybe we should not be doing it. But over the years the First Home Owner Grant has helped many people get off the rental roundabout. It has helped them to get into home ownership. As a real estate agent I have seen many young couples who desperately wanted to get out of the rental area, and having that $7 000, as it has been for a number of years, enabled them to make up their deposit and to move on. Often it is much easier for them to move into an older home where the previous owner has probably moved into a retirement village and they have been able to afford a much cheaper home and spend time doing it up. I am concerned with the inequity in this, that it is only looking to those who can afford a new home, because many of the people we see cannot.
I am not sure whether I will support it at the moment, because I would like to see it back across the board. I appreciate that it has helped the building industry in a difficult time, and that is wonderful. I would like to see the bill go back, whether it be to $7 000 or $10 000, but equitable for everybody so many people can access it, rather than a certain group who can only afford a new home, and not those who are on a rental roundabout and would like to get off it, but cannot because they cannot access what people who can afford something of a higher value can.
Thursday 5 June 2014
Resumed from 4 June 2014 (page 36)
Mrs ARMITAGE (Launceston ) - Mr President, as I was saying last evening, while I appreciate that the bill before us affords protection to recipients of this grant, I have great concerns that it does not assist all first home owners. I would have thought that all first home owners should have been included to receive a grant if purchasing established homes as well. However, I have spoken to the Leader's Office, Treasury and OPC and I accept that it is not possible with the bill before me to make the necessary changes I would like. In the future I intend to lobby members of the other House that perhaps from 31 July we may bring back a first home owner grant for those who cannot afford to build a new home to receive a grant to buy an established home. I would also like to see the grant continue after 31 December 2014. I am assuming that the premise will be that there will be no grant as of 31 December 2014 for any first home owner.
I will certainly be lobbying those in the other place. I appreciate that we cannot move any money bills from this House, but I put them on notice that I will be looking forward to speaking to the appropriate members in that place.