Sky-rocketing house prices aren’t just an issue faced buy those in the city, the Affordable Housing Party said as it announced its candidate for the New England byelection.
Party leader Andrew Potts will contest the seat, in what will be party’s first election.
Mr Potts said housing affordability was as much of a local issue for New England as it was a national crisis for the country.
“House prices and rents may be lower in regional Australia compared to our capital cities but often so are incomes and Australians are paying too much for their housing needs regardless of where they live in the country,” he said.
“This in turn sucks money out of every other part of the economy as people are forced to cut back on their spending in order to make ends meet.”
Read more: Meet the New England byelection candidates
Mr said his party would seek to appeal to frustrated first-home buyers and the parents of young adults whose children were either struggling to enter the housing market or are facing huge rents while they study away from home in the city
“This by-election is an excellent opportunity for us to introduce our party to the voters of Australia while showing regional Australians that we’re not just a party for city people,” Potts said.
“Many parts of the New England electorate have public housing waiting lists of three to four years and landlords who buy in regional Australia have often been priced out of the capital cities and they are not always in a financial position to properly maintain their properties.
“We hope to provide the people of New England with a vehicle for a powerful protest vote to send a wake up call to Canberra over their failure to act on housing affordability.”
The Affordable Housing Party wants to restrict overseas investors from buying up property in Australia and leaving it empty and also wants to focus in on the tax perks that favour Australian property investors over home buyers.
“Property investors in Australia have had things rigged in their favour by the government for over 20 years and it’s time the playing field was levelled. Otherwise home owning Australians will soon be a minority in this country.”
The party is also concerned that government inaction around housing affordability is no coincidence given the huge number of federal parliamentarians who are themselves property investors.
“As of April this year the 105 government MPs and senators owned 289 properties between them,” Mr Potts said.
“The average Coalition politician owns 2.7 properties and the Nationals in the Federal Parliament are some of the worst offenders in this regard. That’s more than five times the property owned by an average Australian.
“On top of that many politicians are also using their generous accommodation allowances of $273 a night to pay off the mortgage on their spouse’s Canberra investment property while Parliament is sitting. They get more money per night to stay away from home than a person on Centrelink has to live off in an entire week.”