SUBJECTS: First Homebuyers; Ag Visas; National Party Leadership.
SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE, HOST: Set to start on the 1st of January allowing first home buyers to purchase a property with a deposit of just five per cent, now the government will guarantee up to 10,000 loans each financial year. Singles earning up to $125,000, or couples earning $200,000, can qualify.
NATALIE BARR, HOST: But there are also property price caps depending on where you buy. In Sydney, it’s $700,000, Melbourne is $600,000, Canberra’s cap is $500,000, $475,000 in Brisbane, and Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. For Perth, Adelaide and Hobart the cap is $400,000 and $375,000 in the Northern Territory; lower price cap levels apply in regional areas.
ARMYTAGE: For their thoughts, let’s bring in National’s MP, Barnaby Joyce, and Shadow Agriculture Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon – morning to you both gentlemen. Now, Barnaby, this will shave off years the time it takes to save for a first property and every generation knows how hard it is to get a deposit together when you’re a young person. But about one in 10 first homebuyers will helped each year; is that enough? Will it actually push prices up?
BARNABY JOYCE, MEMBER FOR NEW ENGLAND: I don’t think so; it’s first in best dressed. It takes so long, for $700,000 we are looking at a $140,000 deposit and that’s just beyond the capacity of someone – couple that’s on $200,000 a year or an individual who is on just a bit over $100,000 a year. Your greatest security in this nation is your house, we know that. It’s basically, you got your super but you got your house, and your house gives you a sense when you get older that they got somewhere, that they can rely on and an asset they can convert into cash when they need it. And so, it’s so important in our nation that we give people the opportunity of that security blanket which is the house and this scheme – ok 10,000 people first in best dressed, but it also allows people to make a consideration of whether you want to be in Sydney, where I suppose $700,000 you get a flat, or whether you look at what opportunities be there for in regional areas because there is obviously a scheme, obviously for a lot less money in regional areas, but you are going to get yourself into a house and get it paid off with a lot less of your life spent just meeting the mortgage payments.
BARR: Yeah, Joel, people may have more capacity to enter the market with less of a deposit. They are still on the hook for a lot of money aren’t they, with not a lot down, only five per cent down? Is over borrowing going to be a worry?
JOEL FITZGIBBON, MEMBER FOR HUNTER: It certainly is a challenge and we can all agree on a couple of things. First of all, it is a real problem for our young people in Australian and second, there is a role for government to play in policy terms. This was a commitment from the government prior to the election so it is good to see it’s moving towards implementing something. There are a number of questions, of course, whether the price caps are about right in each of the capital cities and in the regions, whether 10,000 in any given financial year is enough, it sounds pretty modest. I would like to see some guarantee that a fair share of that assistance goes to young people living in regional and rural Australia.
ARMYTAGE: Well, speaking of rural and regional Australia, Scott Morrison has increased the regional visa cap to 25,000 places following a surge in migrants moving outside the major cities. Barnaby, tell us what’s going on out there in rural communities which are battling drought, there’s no money being spent in town in places I know at the moment, is this rush to regions – more people moving out there – is it a blessing or a curse right now?
JOYCE: Well, obviously, you’re right the droughts on. Behind me, that’s fog and bushfire smoke, so smog. There are certain areas that are not in drought and we’ve always had the issue, especially in things such as the abattoir industry, where we’ve got to make sure the capacity of those forms of income and those forms of commerce are going ahead so we can keep people employed. Now, I think everybody in Australia clearly understands that Sydney does not particularly want a lot more people; we want more people to go to regional areas, and that’s why it’s been good. This government needs to be commended for doing things such as starting Dungowan Dam and building the infrastructure that’s required in regional areas so you can get a stronger population. And that’s why you’re going to need to reinvest in things such as Biada Chicken and the abattoirs and the flight training schools. These forms of employment that give people an opportunity in reginal towns such as Armidale will – relocation, decentralisation, this is why we’ve got to push for these policies so when people come in from overseas they are living in regional areas. Because this nation is going to grow whether we like it or not, regional areas have to bear the burden of so many more people coming into our nation, we’ve got to bear the burden of the politics and make sure the people are prepared to accept that that it’s the job of government to make sure the investment is there and the infrastructure.
BARR: Joel, is this the right way to go?
FITZGIBBON: Well, certainly we welcome the idea of regional dispersal, getting peoples’ skills out into the regions when they come to Australia. But there is not much point getting there by fiddling the figures and just adding other towns to the list of what is regional. For example, the government has got Perth, Adelaide and is now adding the Gold Coast to the list. Another words, they are trying to lift their numbers by adding more towns; that’s not the approach that is needed. But, at the same time we also need to think about other policies around regional migration; no good sending people here if the government is not going to give us the infrastructure, for example, it needs and properly respond to the drought so we overcome these other challenges. You know, in our capital cities they said we need to build more infrastructure because our population is growing. Well, if you’re going to grow our population in the regions, well how about a bit of additional infrastructure for us as well.
ARMYTAGE: Barnaby, I’ve been wanting to ask you think for a couple of weeks and we just haven’t got around to it; what’s going on in the National Party? What’s happening? Is Michael McCormack a good leader here? Country people are starting to feel let down; that the Nats are not behind them here, that the drought policies – that the money for the drought stimulus is taking too long to roll out, and Nats aren’t defending country people. What is going on?
JOYCE: Well, look, I see the pressure of the drought every day; I’m living there and you can see it behind me. Imagine waking up and seeing that? It gets to people, it gets inside their head.
ARMYTAGE: Yeah, but where is Michael McCormack? Why is he not doing more?
JOYCE: Well, he’s going to – he has to do the best job he can and work within confines of government with the Prime Minister and the Treasurer and the Cabinet. And of course, within the National Party, you’ve got to drive a deal and Michael, with the changes to FHA, and Bridgette McKenzie are doing precisely just that, and making sure the infrastructure that will stimulate the economy, such as the Inland Rail, such as the Dungowan Dam, such as – such as, you know other water – Wyangala Dam, Mole River Dam, these sort of things – Emu Swamp, Rookwood Weird, that we get these economies going.
BARR: But Barnaby, are there leadership rumblings is the question. Are there leadership rumblings between the leader and the deputy leader? Are people angry about your leadership in the National Party?
JOYCE: Well, it’s not my leadership but I think the main thing that people understand is the pressure…
BARR: Are the rank and file angry? Do they want to change of leadership in the Nationals?
JOYCE: We are reflecting – we have reflecting the pressures that are coming on us from the dairy industry, from the drought, from the people who are struggling in the economies in town; we understand that. And, of course, what we reflect in our commentary is that pressure that we have to deal with.
ARMYTAGE: But Pauline Hanson is the only person sticking up for the dairy industry. Where are the Nats and why are you not fighting Scott Morrison every day?
JOYCE: Oh come off…That is Rubbish. That is Rubbish – that is rubbish we developed the dairy code, we developed the sugar code, we came in with a drought package, we’re fighting for the dams; we are actually doing it because we got the guts to sit in Cabinet and fight for it. We don’t sit at the coffee shop and scream and yell like a carnival barker, we actually to the place where we can make things happen...
BARR: So Nationals MPs are happy with the leadership?
JOYCE: - cause we don’t drive from Ipswich out – we live there, there it is, right behind us, the bushfire, it’s happening just over there.
BARR: Are National MPs happy with the National’s leadership?
JOYCE: We are making sure that we drive the agenda – yes – because we just want to focus on the people. We want to make sure their outcome is our job. That is what we are doing. And of course, if you hear the talk, you would because we are dealing with the pressure down south, they’re dealing with the issues in regards – they’ve got to get a better calibration on exactly how much water goes down the river and how much goes to support the towns. Out here, we’ve got to make sure the big players stay on the land, not just the small players. We’ve got to work out how to keep the hairdresser going, just like the farm.
ARMYTAGE: Too right. Too right, get stuck in. Alright thank you gents. Sorry, we could talk all day about this but thank you.