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Dutton to warn of risks to the ‘Australian dream’

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton will stand in parliament tonight to deliver his federal budget reply.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton will stand in parliament tonight to deliver his federal budget reply. Photo: Getty

The Australian dream is at risk unless the federal government can align population growth with housing supply, the shadow treasurer warns.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton will on Thursday deliver the coalition’s reply to the government’s 2024/25 budget.

Dutton is expected to discuss growing immigration, dwindling housing and the broader housing crisis in his speech, though shadow treasurer Angus Taylor remained tight-lipped on specifics.

“We are not seeing alignment between population growth in this country and our housing supply, and the victims of that is every Australian trying to rent a home, those trying to buy a home,” Taylor told reporters in Canberra.

“This is a danger to the aspiration of so many Australians to own their own home and to live that Australian dream of being able to raise a family in a home that they own in this great country.

“Making sure we have housing supply and immigration is something you’re going to hear about tonight.”

A report from the government-appointed National Housing Supply and Affordability Council released in May found the housing crisis would worsen and that the Commonwealth would fall short of its goal to build 1.2 million homes by hundreds of thousands.

But Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the budget offered support for the construction industry and increased Commonwealth rent assistance.

“You can’t undo 10 years of neglect in a couple of years, it takes time to do that,” he told ABC radio.

Dutton is also expected to reject manufacturing subsidies worth billions of dollars in his budget reply.

Production tax credits worth $13.7 billion for hydrogen and critical minerals, the centrepiece of Labor’s Future Made in Australia plan, will likely be opposed.

Dutton on Wednesday did say the coalition would support government spending of $3.5 billion for energy bill rebates, worth $300 for each household and $325 for an eligible small business in 2024/25.

But coalition frontbenchers have criticised the lack of means testing for the cost-of-living relief, questioning why those at the top end of town were also receiving rebates.

They have also lashed Labor for what they say is a failure to properly get to the heart of the issue, which is persistent inflation.

Energy companies will apply $75 credits to each quarterly power bill under the rebate scheme.

Economists have warned the budget spending could be inflationary and heap pressure on the Reserve Bank to keep interest rates higher for longer.

While Labor powers on with the renewable energy transition, Dutton has said communities would be consulted about adopting nuclear energy.

He believes nuclear energy should play a central role in Australia’s path to reducing emissions, with renewables also being a part of the nation’s energy mix.

The coalition has also pushed for Australians to be allowed to withdraw up to 40 per cent of their retirement savings – to a maximum of $50,000 – to buy their first home.

But the proposal has been criticised by economists and the superannuation industry, who say it will push up house prices, put retirees with mortgages at risk and won’t benefit young Australians and renters.

– AAP

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