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Barnaby Joyce Just Gave Some Truly Shit Advice To People Trying To Buy A House

"Houses are much cheaper in Tamworth, Armidale and Toowoomba!"

Yesterday two new reports on the state of Australia’s housing market were released and things are… not looking so flash.

The bad news? The median house price in Sydney is now $1.1 million and in Melbourne it’s $740,000, putting both in the list of the 10 least affordable cities in the world.

The good news? There isn’t any. I’m sorry, but we are royally screwed.

Thankfully we have Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on the case, looking out for everyone being squeezed by Australia’s absurdly overheated property market. Joyce told the ABC yesterday that people struggling to buy property in Sydney and Melbourne should just pack up and move to regional and rural areas.

“I get annoyed when people talk about that the only house that you can buy apparently is in Sydney and it’s too dear,” he said. “There are other parts of Australia. I live in one; it’s called Tamworth.”

“We believe that houses will always be incredibly expensive if you can see the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, just accept that. What people have got to realise is that houses are much cheaper in Tamworth, houses are much cheaper in Armidale, houses are much cheaper in Toowoomba.

“If you’ve decided you’ve got the gumption in you and you want to move, you’re going to have a very affordable house. If you say ‘I want a really affordable house in Mosman’, well, don’t we all,” Joyce said.

It’s difficult to know where to start with these comments, but they are yet another reminder that the current government just doesn’t give a shit about housing affordability issues.

First of all, it isn’t just houses in Mosman, or those with harbour views that are ridiculously overpriced. The median house price across the whole of Sydney is over $1 million. That’s 12 times the median household income.

There’s a very good reason why so many people prioritise living in the city compared to regional towns and it’s called jobs. Regional unemployment is currently at its highest level in more than a decade, and it’s much higher than the unemployment rate in capital cities like Sydney and Melbourne. Youth unemployment is even higher in regional areas, hitting 21 percent in the NSW Hunter Valley and 28 percent in regional Queensland.

I’m sure plenty of people would be happy to move out to cheaper towns as long as there were jobs and services available. You know one way to boost economic activity in the regions? Build high speed internet infrastructure. Unfortunately Barnaby Joyce’s government has made a complete mess of the NBN, so no luck there.

It’s been clear for a while that the federal government has absolutely no serious plan to tackle the housing affordability issue. But Joyce’s comments today suggest that the problem is even worse than that. Our Deputy Prime Minister is so out of touch with reality he doesn’t understand the basic reason why people want to live in cities and why it’s actually pretty difficult to pack up your life and move to a regional town.

Current federal government policies like negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions have directly contributed to the housing crisis. They’ve put huge pressure on house prices, and they’re a significant part of the reason the median house price in Sydney is now 12 times the median household income. This government has watched this happen and done nothing. They’ve helped make Sydney and Melbourne a property investor’s paradise while locking out first home buyers.

And now they’re telling us to move out? What a joke.