Ensuring a strong national focus on housing is critical to retaining Australia's AAA credit rating says the Housing Industry Association (HIA), while the Property Council of Australia has urged the government to take lessons from the tight election outcome.
The HIA's chief economist Harley Dale said more needs to be done.
"Residential building activity has been the engine room of the Australian economy for the past four years," said Dale.
"It has filled the void left by a contracting mining sector, and has gained some ground on a decade of undersupply in new housing. But there's much more that needs to be done if Australia is to defend its AAA credit rating.""The incoming Commonwealth Government needs to focus on building the new homes for our growing population, meeting the housing needs of our changing demographics, addressing the housing affordability challenges confronting younger generations, supporting the 321,595 businesses that operate across the residential building industry, and importantly, enabling the industry to grow and expand its contribution to the Australian economy.
"The industry generates over $160 billion in national GDP each year, contributes $77 billion in taxes, provides jobs for over one million workers and touches the lives of every Australian every day," he continued.
"Australia needs a Commonwealth Housing Minister - a senior Minister in cabinet to provide national leadership, to coordinate federal, state and local government housing programs, to guide important industry policy reform nationally, and ensure housing has a front seat in cabinet discussions around taxation reform, national budget repair, infrastructure and workforce development."“External rating agencies and organisations like the IMF are watching our economy closely, particularly housing, and are clearly looking for economic focus, leadership and policy reform. Reform is the key; while procrastination could well be the nation’s Achilles heel. A lack of federal focus on housing policy reform increases the chance of a ratings downgrade,” concluded Harley Dale.
The Property Council of Australia's chief executive Ken Morrison stressed the importance of reestablishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
“We congratulate Prime Minister Turnbull and the Coalition on their re-election”, said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.
“While the election result was close, the government should not take the wrong lessons from the outcome.
“The result is not a ‘three-year leave pass’ from economic reform. We should not think that the 25 years of economic growth that Australia concluded was achieved by ignoring the economic fundamentals. The decision of S&P to put Australia on negative credit watch is a reminder that Australia is responsible for our own economic future.
“It has been the property and construction sector that has largely filled the hole left by the end of the mining investment boom. However, the Government must understand that a number of leading indicators are softening in this sector.
“The need to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission is very real and we urge the government to find a legislative pathway to deliver this important reform.
“The Prime Minister rightly made cities policy a critical part of his economic agenda. On cities and infrastructure there is now considerable bi-partisan agreement and this is an opportunity to cement long-term results in an area so vital to Australia’s prosperity.”
Mr Morrison said the election could not be seen as an endorsement for plans to radically overhaul negative gearing or to impose additional taxes on investment.
“A vital issue for this parliament is housing affordability. It is a real issue across our major cities and a major concern to the community.
“In this election we had a tax debate masquerading as a housing affordability debate. The reality is neither side made a substantive effort to address this issue.
“There has been no shortage of policy reviews on this issue and the need for supply side solutions is clear. The Government must move in this space and it can start by re- establishing the National Housing Supply Council and by developing competition style payments to address supply blockages."