Stark neglect of housing
The recent release of Anglicare's annual Rental Affordability Snapshot not only demonstrates there is no rental housing to speak of that is affordable for low income households in the Bega Valley, but puts in stark relief the legacy of neglect left by six years of Liberal/National Party government.
Among the very first acts of the Abbott government was to close the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) which provided over 20,000 new affordable houses for low income households and was on track to deliver 30,000 more. The BEND development in Bega includes NRAS affordable housing.
Then they cut $44million a year in capital funding for emergency accommodation for women and children escaping family violence.
Then they de-funded Homelessness Australia, National Shelter and the Community Housing Federation of Australia so that homeless people and households in need of affordable rental housing were rendered voiceless.
Then they scrapped the First Home Saver Account Scheme which was helping people save for their first home.
Then they closed their eyes and ears to the evidence of the housing affordability crisis by abolishing the National Housing Supply Council and the Prime Minister's Council on Homelessness.
Among the measures to tackle the housing affordability crisis and reduce homelessness Labor is taking to election is a promise to re-open a reformed NRAS to provide 250,000 new affordable rental houses over 10 years, including 20,000 in its first term. This is a $6.6billion investment in affordable rental housing over the decade and will provide a way for regions like the Bega Valley to increase our stock of affordable rental housing.
A Labor government will put $88m in capital funding over two years into a Safe Housing Fund to provide emergency and transitional accommodation for women and children escaping family and domestic violence.
A Labor government will have a dedicated Minister for Housing and Homelessness in Cabinet. The last time the Liberals had a Minister for Housing was in 1968.
A Labor government will re-establish the National Housing Supply Council which will provide expert analysis and advice to the Minister on the state of Australia's housing market.
Yes, fixing the housing mess left by the Liberals is expensive, but it is necessary and it will be funded by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and the top end of town, reforming negative gearing to favour building new housing stock and winding back capital gains tax concessions to property investors.
Phil Morgans, Candelo, Labor member and former advisor to the Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness.
If Labor is successful in implementing its franking credit policy it will have far reaching effects on retirees in Eurobodalla and Bega Valley.
In January 2017 major changes were made to Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF) in order to help the federal budget, principally the assets test was drastically lowered.
In 2019 Mr Shorten and Bowen are proposing a huge reduction in an SMSF ability to provide a reasonable standard of living, especially to those who lost their part pension in 2017.
Mr Shorten proposes to remove the return of franking credits to these retirees. Shorten and Bowen sneeringly claim this is a 'gift' of taxpayers money. Perhaps they think the aged pension, child care rebates or even unemployment benefits are similar 'gifts'?
The anomaly can be seen when two households, next to each other in the same street are compared.
An age part pensioner couple living in their own house could have an SMSF with up to $830K invested, which returns the franking credits, as well they could have an outside income (ie. retired government employees) and earn up to $80,000/year before they lose their part pension status.
The retired couple next door, living in their own house, with only an SMSF from their 30 years self-employed working life has a total of $880K in Australian shares. This couple is not eligible for a part pension.
This super fund earns about $47,000/year with a balance portfolio. Franking credits in a balanced fund would return between $6000 and $12,000. In Eurobodalla this would be the financial situation of the vast majority of retired folk who are not eligible for a government aged pension.
Franking credit refunds would be used by retirees to spend in our local communities, especially in regional centres such as Bega.
Philip Creagh, Narooma
"Daddy do all fairy tales begin with once upon a time...?"
"No son, sometimes they begin with 'If elected, I promise to.....'"
With thanks to Snoopy cartoons.
Paul Dion, Nethercote
Reds in our bed
In the TV ad showing two men carrying a table from a furniture delivery van the focus is on the government support for small business.
Presumably the small business is a furniture shop. If you have lately wandered through such a shop and admired some attractive items manufactured from our own beautiful Australian timbers assuming the item was manufactured in Oz providing employment, well your assumption would be sadly wrong.
Our beautiful Australian timber is now shipped as logs to China and come back to our shops as usually flat packed items put together by the shop. No jobs to be seen here!
This mercantile madness now pervades our society to such a degree that we have accepted it as the norm.
Even our nappy producer has shut its doors and moved to set up in China. Far more baby bottoms over there and shipping compressed nappies back to Oz cheap as chips.
The whole western world has shifted a large part of its manufacturing and technical production capability largely to communist China and several other Asian countries.
The present government in its wisdom has caused the loss of almost all our car manufacturing with the loss of the huge skillset embodied by the many small business producing parts. No support for small business here. This government decision largely based on the almost religious adherence to the so-called "free market" philosophy.
How many older workers ended up on the scrap heap and are no living on taxpayers support?
Nobody appears to be aware of the fact there are thousands of people within our borders that have overstayed their visa. So much for all the chest-beating about the strong border policy. A blind eye turned because many form the backbone of our seasonal agriculture workforce.
And then there is the "mum and dad" smokescreen. Mum and dad farmers; mum and dad shareholders. That's where you hide the favourable rules for large companies that dodge their tax commitments. That's where you hide large rice and cotton growers that still want more land clearing and lots more water once the drought breaks. Remarkably few jobs in large-scale farming!
Almost forgot about that mercantile thinker in the boardroom of a large supermarket who came up with that brilliant idea of $1 milk - less than a bottle of mineral water. That put a real bomb under the prospects of dairy farmers and most of them are the real mum and dad farmers.
In the past period of great economic stewardship, somebody also put a bomb under our TAFE system. To save the budget of course as it is much cheaper to bring in workers on 457 visas. Best thing is they don't dare to join those pesky unions.
Strange thing that budget. Our sovereign debt has doubled to over half a trillion dollars under the present government. Oh well, the next generation can have a go at trying to pay off that little mole hill. Or is that a massive mountain?
There was a time when we talked a lot of the fear of the "Reds under the bed". And rightfully so. Trouble is, those Reds are now well and truly snuggled up with us in our beds and if we do not give them the tickle they crave, they simply stop our coal from being unloaded in their harbours. Mind you, that coal is likely shipped from a harbour or two already leased to companies fully underwritten by an autocratic regime the likes for which many laid down their lives to prevent being engulfed.
What a tightrope we are walking.