Furniture store chains are getting a boost from a government giveaway.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen The Government announced a $3.2 billion “value city” fund last year to help big city retailers boost sales and boost local economies.
It gave states and territories $3 million each and the federal government $1.8 billion.
While the Federal Government announced $1 billion, states and Territories got $1,200 per household to boost housing stock.
But the Government said it was just a starting point.
“We’ve committed to help these big city stores build value city businesses in our communities,” Assistant Treasurer Andrew Robb said.
“They’ll be able to sell their own products in our local markets, and they’ll be doing that through value city retailers.”
The Government will invest $1 million to $5 million in local businesses to help boost their value-added.
That money will come from the “value cities fund”, which is already available to states and territory.
But Mr Robb said he did not think the Government would spend that much more.
“We’re still looking at how much of that money is going to be spent, and how much it’s going to increase spending on local services and on social housing,” he said.
There is a strong correlation between spending on housing and economic activity, Mr Robb noted.
If you look at the figures of the NSW and Queensland governments, the big cities are a huge driver of economic activity.
So it’s important that we look at all of the factors that make the cities more competitive, he said, adding that the Government will also help boost local housing supply by supporting a housing bank and building new homes.
The Government also committed to a national scheme of $1 trillion worth of new infrastructure investment to create thousands of new housing units.
It also pledged to build up to 800,000 affordable housing units over the next decade.
“Our priority is that every Australian family is able to be at home and on their own property by the end of the decade,” Mr Robb added.
“So we’re investing a lot of money in housing, building up a national housing bank, and ensuring that we continue to build the homes that Australians want.”
The Opposition’s housing spokesman Richard Wynne said he was disappointed the Government was not using its $1bn in new infrastructure to invest in local housing.
“If the Government is serious about addressing affordability, then it should be investing in the areas where it has the most to gain from its investment in local infrastructure,” he told 7.30.
This is what we need, he added.
Mr Robb said the Government had a “very strong commitment” to building new housing, but it was important to focus on “real and immediate solutions”.
“What the Government should be focusing on is real, immediate, tangible solutions to help people buy a house,” he added, adding he would “rather see a $1billion investment in the first place than a $5billion investment.”
He also said the focus of the Government’s housing package was not on the construction of new homes but on the “costs and risks of the current housing market”.
But Ms Wynne said she thought the Government needed to “focus on its priorities” before spending more money on housing.
In a statement, Ms Wynne’s office said she supported the Government “in putting forward a comprehensive package of infrastructure investments to build more homes, build affordable housing and improve quality of life in our most disadvantaged communities”.
It said the Coalition would “continue to support and work with the Federal, State and Territory governments on a national and regional housing strategy”.