Australia

Labor flags more affordable housing policy

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Source: AAP

Building at least 100,000 new affordable homes and 100,000 social housing dwellings could cut homelessness in half in 10 years, a plan suggests.

The number of homeless Australians could be halved in 10 years under a plan to establish more affordable and community housing, according to a leading housing group.

The Community Housing Industry Association will launch the plan on Tuesday, at a Melbourne event due to be attended by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

The scheme proposes building at least 100,000 new affordable homes and 100,000 new social housing dwellings across Australia by 2028.

That boost would help ensure future housing needs are met and cut homeless in half, the plan suggests.

The sector is also calling for a dedicated federal minister for housing and a national housing strategy.

Mr Shorten is set to address the association on Tuesday, as Labor and the coalition remain locked in a war of words over the opposition's plan to reform tax breaks for housing investors.

Labor wants to retain negative gearing only for newly built homes - with the policy grandfathered so it won't apply to existing investors - and make changes to capital gains tax.

Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond on Monday declared Labor's policy would be a "nuclear bomb".

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg springboarded off the comments, saying Labor's negative gearing proposal would be "very bad" for homeowners and renters.

"The view is it will be a terrible outcome for people with debts in their own home, people who are even looking to get into the housing market," he told the Nine Network.

But Mr Bowen lashed those remarks as a "scare campaign", continuing a battle between the major parties that reignited in October when Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia's triple-A credit rating was at risk under Labor's policy.

"It's all a bit embarrassing for the new treasurer, trying to walk and lie at the same time is proving a bit much," Mr Bowen said.

"This is the problem when you have no credible economic or tax policy.

"Labor wants to level the playing field so all Australians can aspire and realise the dream of owning their own home."

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