Deputy Greens leader and senator Mehreen Faruqi has been given permission to build three investment townhouses on her property in Port Macquarie. This has sparked controversy as the Greens have been proposing a new housing policy. However, Faruqi is not the only politician with multiple properties. On average, federal politicians own about two properties each, compared to the 67% of Australians who own property. Many politicians also own a second property in Canberra or an investment property. MPs and Senators can claim a travel allowance, even if they stay in a property they own in Canberra. In 2017, there were on average 2.3 properties per politician. Some politicians with the most properties include Karen Andrews, Tony Burke, and Andrew Wilcox. Politicians invest at similar rates compared to others in the same pay bracket. It is unclear whether their property portfolios will shape policy, but there is an oversight in consultation for renters’ issues. Economist Dr Cameron Murray believes politicians have an incentive not to devalue their own property through policy. The tax benefits of investing in property include discounted tax rates on capital gains. The state governments rely on housing to increase revenue through measures like stamp duty. To address the housing crisis, structural changes or government intervention would be needed.
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