A policy divide over housing has opened up in the key battleground seat of Wentworth in the final days of the election campaign, with independent candidate Allegra Spender rejecting the government’s bid to unlock superannuation for house deposits.
Spender said the Coalition’s policy would probably push up house prices – a view shared by prominently conceded and partly conceded by Superannuation Minister Jane Hume – and that was “the last thing we need”.
“I don’t think it’s good policy. It doesn’t solve long-term housing issues,” Spender told the Herald on Monday night following a “politics in the pub” event in Double Bay.
“It won’t support those most in need because the poorest people don’t have $20,000, $50,000 in super to be withdrawn. It’s probably inflationary in terms of house prices, which is the last thing we need. And it’s not solving the long-term issue, which is actually we need more housing supply.”
Spender was more favorable towards the Coalition’s proposal to encourage downsizing by allowing people as young as 55 to make a $300,000 tax-free superannuation contribution when they sell their family home. But it still failed to tackle the supply problem seriously, she said.
By contrast, Liberal MP Dave Sharma, who holds the seat of Wentworth on a 1.3 per cent margin, is a keen enthusiast for unlocking super for housing, saying it would “make a material difference to the biggest hurdle facing prospective homeowners, which is saving a deposit”.
‘The poorest people don’t have $20,000, $50,000 in super to be withdrawn.’
Allegra Spender, independent candidate for Wentworth
In a comment seemingly directed at Spender’s family wealth, Sharma added: “My opponent might not have any personal experience of this scenario, but I can assure you that many locals in their 20s and 30s have warmly welcomed this boost to their homeownership aspirations.”
Despite being home to some of Australia’s wealthiest retirees, Wentworth skews younger than the state and national average, making it home to a bigger percentage of potential first home buyers.