Opposition calls to slash migration intake, ban foreign homebuyers

Opposition calls to slash migration intake, ban foreign homebuyers

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Opposition leader Peter Dutton has proposed a two-year housing ban for foreign investors and temporary migrants in a highly critical response to the federal budget.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered his third federal budget and his second surplus on Tuesday, promising it would fight inflation while tackling cost of living pressures.

Dutton took to parliament tonight to respond to what he called “one of the most irresponsible” budgets he had seen in his decades-long political career.

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Dutton said a government he led would ban foreign investors and temporary residents from purchasing existing homes for two years, in a bid to address the housing crisis.

He would also reduce the permanent migration program by 25 per cent from 185,000 to 140,000 for the first two years.

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“We believe that by rebalancing the migration program and taking decisive action on the housing crisis, the Coalition can free up almost 40,000 additional homes in the first year, and well over 100,000 homes in the first five year,” he said. 

Labor had promised to cap the number of foreign students in an effort to bring the net migration intake – which includes long-term temporary visitors on top of the permanent migration program – down to 260,000 from 528,000 last year.

Dutton, who said Australians were sleeping in cars and tents across the country amid the housing crisis, backed the university restrictions.

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Dutton also confirmed the Coalition would block Labor’s $13.7 billion 10-year investment into green hydrogen and critical minerals, which he called “corporate welfare for billionaires”, under the Future Made in Australia plan.

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But he did endorse some of what he called Labor’s more “sensible measures”, including the headline $300 energy bill rebate and $50 million to invest in better women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare.

“In particular, the $3.4 billion for medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and the extension of emergency payments to support women and children fleeing domestic violence,” he added.

Dutton also zeroed in on the dozens of women allegedly killed at the hands of men this year – which was a $925.2 million focus for Labor – and the latest spate of knife attacks across the country.

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He announced he would make it an offence to use mobile phones and computer networks to cause an intimate partner or family member fear for their safety, to track them using spyware or to coerce them.

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“Offences relating to partner and family violence generally fall under state and territory legislation, but there is also a role for the Commonwealth to play,” he said.

Dutton’s other measures to combat violence in the community include the tightening of bail laws and uniform laws against knife crime across all states and territories.

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