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ACT Independent Senator David Pocock has provided his support for the majority report recommendation of a senate inquiry into bills that will legislate the federal government’s new Help to Buy shared equity housing scheme.

However in additional comments, drawing on evidence submitted by a range of expert stakeholders, Senator Pocock has put forward a range of recommendations to improve and increase the ambition of the scheme.

Most importantly Senator Pocock has recommended increasing the scale of the scheme from up to 10,000 eligible households per year for four years (the Government's commitment is capped at 40,000) to a floor of 30,000 households per year on an ongoing basis. As part of this, Senator Pocock recommends quarantining a third of scheme places for historically disadvantaged cohorts, such as older women and First Nations peoples. This picks up an amendment moved by the Member for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel MP, in the lower house.

Senator Pocock said the scheme should be better targeted to those for whom home ownership would otherwise be out of reach, rather than simply bringing forward entry into the market.

He has also proposed expanding eligibility of the scheme to include people in mortgage stress, consistent with the policy proposal put forward by the University of Canberra’s Professor Chris Wallace.

“Commonwealth resources should always be put to the best possible use and I’ve put forward a series of sensible recommendations based on expert evidence to better do that,” Senator Pocock said.  

“The depth and breadth of Australia’s housing crisis means that government assistance should be targeted to those most in need. In this case, to increasing the total quantum of people able to access home ownership, as opposed to simply bringing that market entry forward

“Evidence tendered to the committee suggests that this scheme will have a minimal impact on property prices. It also presents a low risk to the taxpayer given the history of capital gain on property in Australia.

“For these reasons I think there is a strong case for increasing the scale and ambition of the scheme, as has been comprehensively argued by expert stakeholders from CHIA, to National Shelter, the Grattan Institute, UNSW City Futures and Master Builders Australia."

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