Mr Speaker Indi, like many parts of regional Australia, is facing an acute crisis in housing affordability.
It is holding back our economic recovery, and it is causing a huge mental health toll for thousands of people.
In Bright, house prices have gone up 117% since 2014 – the average house price has gone from $330,000 to $715,000.
Bright has seen 24% growth since 2019 alone.
A few days ago, I read in the Border Mail that a house in Albury-Wodonga, which last sold in 2016 for $335,000 was just sold for $1.36 million.
It went up a million dollars in five years.
This is rural Australia.
And yesterday the ABC reported that Mansfield has had triple its expected population growth over the last two years.
The new Mayor James Tehan has committed to tackling housing as a top priority, and I congratulate him on that.
But our local councils can’t solve the problem alone.
When I took these issues to the Housing Minister a few months ago, he had no solutions for me.
The Government’s main response is to just give local councils a whack about releasing more land.
It’s a classic “not our problem” response.
We have a Housing Minister with no Housing policy.
If the regions are to really grasp the post-COVID economic opportunities, we need real action from the Federal Government on housing.