CFMEU Pushes Bold $28B Super Profit Tax for Housing Crisis

Australia's largest construction union will launch a national advertising campaign later this month.

Tue 25 Jul 23


Billions of dollars could be collected and funnelled into new housing stock should the Federal Government adopt a new ‘economy-wide super profits tax’ to address the housing shortage.

As reported in the Australian, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining And Energy Union National Secretary Zach Smith will outline proposed reforms at the National Press Club today.

Mr Smith said the change would rake in the $28 billion per annum shortfall needed by taxing the excess earnings from multinationals to bolster flagging social and affordable housing stock.

“There’s such a strong appetite out there for an idea like this one,” his speech will say. 

“It could go down in history as the government that ended the housing crisis … and taxed super profits.”

Mr Smith, armed with research from Oxford Economics Australia, found that Australia is facing a shortfall of 750,700 social and affordable dwellings.

That gap, according to the research commissioned by the CFMEU, is forecast to grow to 946,000 dwellings by 2041.

The figures support the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation’s forecasts of an 866,000 shortfall by 2040.

Last month, Wood Central reported that the Australian Government is failing to keep pace with its commitment to build one million new homes over the next five years.

In June, Wood Central analysed the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) ‘State of the Housing’ and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) ‘Building Activity Report.’
The Social Housing Fund Accelerator

To partly address the shortfall, the Government announced the $2 billion Social Housing Fund Accelerator, which will deploy funding allocated to states and territories per capita. 

The funding must be committed to projects within two years as part of the deal.

Prime Minister Albanese said the package would help address a shortage of social housing sooner.

“This is new money – right now – for new social housing,” he said.

“The last decade has seen the proportion of social housing decline from 4.7 per cent to 4.2 per cent of households.”

Footage courtesy of @7News.

Demand for social housing has increased almost three times as fast as the growth in population.

Oxford Economics Australia estimates that an investment of $511 billion, or $28 billion per annum, is required to close the housing gap by 2041.

Figures suggest an economy-wide super profits tax would raise $290 billion over the next decade — enough to cover the investment shortfall.

“This includes $128 billion from mining projects (excluding those already covered by other resource rent taxes) and $163 billion from non-mining companies with turnover greater than $100 million,” the research said.

Federal co-chair of the Forest Industry Parliamentary Friends group Senator Jonno Duniam, with Diana Gibbs, Chair of AFPA, Anna Neelagama, CEO of REIA, Senator Raff Ciccone, Federal co-chair of the Forest Industry Parliamentary Friends group with Natasa Sikman, Acting CEO of AFPA at the most recent AFPA Dinner in Canberra. At the dinner, Anna Neelagama spoke of the importance of timber resources in driving housing construction.
The CFMEU will launch a new advertising campaign next month

The CFMEU will launch a national advertising campaign to promote the bold pitch ahead of the Australian Labor Party’s national conference next month.

Mr Smith has flagged he will move a motion to support the reform to change the party’s policy platform at the conference in Brisbane.

“The money exists. The wealth exists. But it doesn’t exist in ordinary Australian households,” he will tell reporters in Canberra.

“It exists in the profit columns of a very small and elite group of corporations.”

The Housing Australia Future Fund is in trouble.

The Albanese Government went to the last election promising to establish a $10 billion housing fund – the Housing Australia Future Fund – to build up to $500m annually to build 30,000 affordable homes over five years.

The reform has the support of Master Builders, which it hopes will be “passed as quickly as possible.”

The bill has not passed Parliament, with the Coalition labelling it “an accounting trick” and the Greens warning that it is “a $10bn gamble on the stock market where the volatile returns are invested in housing”.

Footage courtesy of @7News.

Mr Smith will use his speech to slam successive governments for suggesting “only the market can be relied upon to create progress”.

“It is nonsense. Not only can Government step in to fix big intractable national problems – it must,” the union boss will say.

“The state has a role to play, and Australians want the state to play it.”

It comes as the Courier Mail reports that the Queensland housing crisis is set to worsen, with a further 20,000 home shortfall predicted by 2027 unless urgent action is taken.

Queensland Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon earlier this month. (Photo Credit: Lyndon Mechielsen via the Courier Mail)

The warning comes after Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon was forced to admit the state’s housing crisis was worse than when the Government held its flagship summit on the issue eight months ago.

The acute shortage in housing has led Master Builder Australia CEO Denita Wawn to push “pull out all stops to address the issue.”


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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