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First Home Owner Grant Amendment

[11.11 a.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, I too support the bill. Obviously, it is always good to support first home owners and the great Australian dream of owning your own house is becoming harder and harder, as other members have said. It is something I go on about every year - and to the Treasurer when I see him - but unfortunately it falls on deaf ears; the Government only has so much money, but this grant discriminates against anyone who wants to buy their first home but cannot afford to build a new home.

My other concern is that when a young couple - perhaps not as financial as they would like to be - has the money to pay back a mortgage, they buy a brand-new home because they can get $20 000, which seems like an awful lot of money, and find themselves overcommitted.

This is a real issue. It is not an issue for the Government, which is putting the money up, but sometimes that does happen. Having been in real estate, I have seen that happen. People think they have enough money but they forget loss of employment when, for example, the wife becomes pregnant and they cannot continue to pay back the money.

I have an issue with the title First Home Owner Grant. I have mentioned this previously too - the fact it says 'first' home owner. It is almost like a first home builder, but I appreciate they are not building the home. A FHOG tends to leave someone thinking that if they are buying a second-hand older house, they are a first home owner.

How many people in this Chamber, as young people, or first married or getting their first home, would actually think of building a new home? Would you buy a home you could afford and then work up to buying a new or larger home later when you had a family? In some ways we are making the great Australian dream more difficult for people.

How disappointing for someone to go into a brand-new home, find they are overcommitted and cannot afford to stay there. While I appreciate they only have to live in the house for six months, I have an issue with that. We give 50 per cent off stamp duty up to $7000. It is discriminatory that a first homebuyer gets $7000 and a first home builder gets $20 000. It does help the building industry. I do not know whether anyone has tried to get a builder lately. I have been waiting four months for my builder because builders are so busy out there.

The grant has obviously done some work there. I can see why the Government is doing it. I do not agree with the comment we hear every time in response to my argument that it inflates the price of a house. As a previous real estate agent, people did not put their house up by $20 000 because someone had a grant.

The $20 000 grant enabled them to get into the house because they then had enough for a deposit and often that was more the way it worked - they might buy a house worth, say, $253 000, that they could actually afford. The First Home Owner Grant would then enable them to use it in that way. Previously the FHOG was less than it is now.

I accept the bill before us is the $20 000 for first home builders. I certainly will support it, but I will continue to say it is discriminatory and discriminates against people in the community who cannot afford to build a new home.

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