The Greens are calling for a “People’s Bank” and universal basic income that would give Australians low interest government loans and cheaper housing.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale has outlined an agenda to the National Press Club for “big government” a plan for a “universal basic income” while also proposing the Reserve Bank offer banking services, providing low interest rates to homeowners.
“Banks are now an essential service. You can’t have a job or get government support without having a bank account,” Senator Di Natale said.
“In the face of ongoing misconduct and price gouging, it’s time for government to step in and ensure that there is a low-cost banking service, backed directly by the RBA, which is focused on the everyday savings and mortgage needs of customers.”
The Greens believe a “People’s Bank” would create real competition in the banking sector, providing savings accounts, debit cards and mortgage rates linked to the Reserve Bank’s interest rate.
It would provide a mortgage tracker account to homeowners, with those paying off their home able to borrow up to 60 per cent of the value of the property directly from the RBA.
Interest rates would begin at 3 per cent with 0.5 per cent to cover costs.
Loans would be capped at $500,000 for owner-occupiers that could be repaid over a maximum of 30 years.
“It will help turn around the recent decline in home ownership rates. It will also help stem the flow of lazy profits to the banks and inject some real competition into the banking sector.”
However, Opposition Leader said the idea would flood more money into the housing market, calling it a “thought bubble.”
“The real answer here isn’t to put more cheap cash into the market, which will actually just boost the cost of housing,” Mr Shorten said.
He also said the Greens’ plan for a universal basic income to modernise the country’s social safety net was a “bridge too far”, despite believing in providing pensions to people who needed them.
He said there were better solutions, particularly for housing.
“What we should do is tackle negative gearing, and I think that’s the better reform.”