Community wants housing help and negative gearing phase-out

NEGATIVE gearing must be phased out and an extra $25 billion spent over the next 20 years to address housing affordability, community groups have urged federal parliament.

The groups have released a national strategy calling on all politicians to work together to find a solution to rising rental costs, a potential housing bubble and homelessness.

Among them, the Australian Council of Social Services, National Shelter and groups representing community housing and tenants have called for national reform.

On their agenda was phasing out capital gains tax breaks and negative gearing, a 30% rise in Commonwealth Rent Assistance, more services for the homeless and planning reforms to help bring on more affordable housing.

ACOSS chief Dr Cass-andra Goldie said while she understood negative gearing was a "sensitive subject", she believed both older Australians who had invested through the scheme and young people kept out of the property market understood it was distorting the market.

But she said those already invested under the scheme could be grandfathered on to new regulations as the tax break was phased out, an issue reinforced by economists and the government's own advisors.

Dr Goldie said both Ken Henry's tax review and David Murray's financial system inquiry have urged reform, with Mr Murray citing it as a problem, despite being outside the scope of the inquiry.

The groups have also called on state and territory governments to join the Commonwealth in supporting a $10 billion investment in affordable housing in the next five years.

Under the plan, a further $15 billion would be directed to the program over the next 20 years, and long-term support to help people avoid becoming homeless.

But Dr Goldie said both major parties had released a national housing affordability policy, and she wanted a bipartisan approach to the issue.

While the federal government reinstated homelessness funding for two years this week, Dr Goldie said wider reform was needed.

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