Budget 2017: Government can make a difference on housing affordability, Scott Morrison says
Treasurer Scott Morrison insists he can meet public expectations about housing affordability ahead of Tuesday's federal budget.
For months, Cabinet ministers have promised new measures to address rising property prices in capital cities and to help younger Australians who are locked out of the market.
New polling by the Australian National University has found 84 per cent of Australians believe property prices will continue to increase in coming years.
But Mr Morrison has rejected claims his Government would inevitably disappoint voters, telling Channel Nine he "doesn't resile" from tackling the issue.
"I don't agree with the cynics who say the Commonwealth Government can't make a difference in this area, as I think it can," Mr Morrison said.
"I also don't agree with the cynical opportunists who say that all you have to do is change one tax and then everyone will be able to buy a house where they want."
Labor has repeatedly called for changes to negative gearing tax concessions for new purchases, which is something the Treasurer has ruled out ahead of the budget.
Mr Morrison said the budget would take a comprehensive approach to housing and help reduce pressure on the rental market, and allow older Australians to downsize their home.
"It will work with states and territories and address everything from the needs of those who don't even have a roof over their head, to those who are trying to buy one to put over their heads," he said.
"You can't solve housing affordability, but you can do things that reduce the pressure and I think Australians expect governments to do that."
Labor's shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said the Government had adopted "pale imitations" of its education and health policies before the budget.
"We are not going to give a pat on the back to a Government which refuses to embrace the reforms necessary for Australia's future, like negative gearing and capital gains tax reform," he told Insiders.
"We are not going to give a pat on the back to a Government which was meant to have housing affordability as the centrepiece of the budget.
"What we are going to get from all reports is a damp squib."
Xenophon deal sees pensioners get paid
The Treasurer also confirmed pensioners will receive a one-off payment before June 30 to help with rising electricity costs.
Single people on the aged or disability pension will get $75, while couples will be paid $125.
The payments were announced as part of a deal with South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon to pass the Government's company tax cuts.
"It is there to support people going into this winter with electricity prices, that was the arrangement," Mr Morrison said.
Fight over education funding continues
Mr Morrison also denied picking a fight with the Catholic school sector over education funding, insisting the Government's changes were fair.
Some Catholic schools are continuing to attack the Government's school funding overhaul, saying the new formula will cut the money they get over the long term.
Mr Morrison said the changes had been welcomed by many Christian schools.
"If you have a school in the same community, with the same parents, with the same needs of children, well they should be funded in the same way," he told Channel Nine.
"You shouldn't get more money because there is one name on a school gate and a different name on the school next door."
Mr Bowen said many Catholic schools were providing education in low-socioeconomic areas and the Government's changes could lead to increased fees.
"There is very little in this package that gets a tick," Mr Bowen said.
"It is a pale imitation of Labor's approach, playing desperate catch-up, desperate catch-up, and not doing it successfully."