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Monday, July 15, 2024

Katter calls to free up land

A FAR Northern MP has raised concerns about the scarcity of land availability in Australia, despite vast stretches of the country being classified as “empty”.

Kennedy MP Bob Katter drew a discrepancy between the abundance of land and the escalating competition for housing and land in densely populated cities and regions and recalled a time when land subdivisions were accessible and affordable, with blocks of land selling for approximately $7000 each.

Supporting a motion by his crossbench colleague, Calare MP Andrew Gee, to prohibit foreigners from purchasing residential Australian properties, Katter emphasised the need for immediate action to alleviate the competitive housing market however, the motion was rejected by both major parties.

In addition to restricting foreign ownership, Katter proposed the immediate release of large Crown land parcels and advocated for all subdivision decisions to be entrusted to a single, community-based authority.

Critiquing the Federal Government’s recent housing initiatives, such as the Help to Buy Scheme, which subsidizes up to 40 per cent equity of a first homebuyer’s property, Katter argued that these measures only exacerbate demand without addressing the underlying issue of supply. He cited previous government incentives that boosted demand through monetary incentives, including deposit guarantees.

Expressing frustration with the government’s expenditure of nearly $30 billion on housing handouts and demand-boosting measures, Katter pointed out the government’s acknowledgment of the market’s fundamental problem: a lack of affordable land.

“No less a person in this place (Parliament) than the Treasurer in his first budget speech said: ‘The problem confronting this nation is affordability. That is being driven by housing prices, which are being pressured by restrictive impositions upon land’,” Mr Katter said.

“And then he said ‘We’re setting up an authority.’

“No, no, we’ve already got four processes we’ve got to go through, and we’ll have five processes we’ve got to go through if that authority is brought into operation.”

Instead, Mr Katter proposed redirecting government spending towards freeing up crown land in underpopulated areas and developing affordable housing options.

He suggested encouraging city dwellers to relocate to regional areas by promoting the affordability and lifestyle benefits of living in these regions, such as Charters Towers, Ingham, or Mareeba in North Queensland.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Unity to focus on cost-of-living and JCU welcomes Universities Accord final report.

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