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Friday analysis: Federal Labor at a native loggerhead with WA and Victoria

Anyone in the housing industry looking for some relief from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s 0.25% increase in the cash rate was sadly disappointed.

The idea that just maybe an increase in home loan interest rates may take some of the heat out of the housing market by slowing loan application was quickly dashed by the Housing Industry Association.

The HIA agreed that home building activity was expected to ease modestly from its current elevated levels, partly in response to the interest rate call.

But the HIA quite rightly pointed that it would not ease the constraints on global supply chains, increase the supply of skilled labour or improve productivity.

The HIA also points out that the impact of the rise in the cash rate on building approvals could take more than six months to emerge.

It seems the existing pipeline of work will keep builders busy this year and well into next year, limited by the availability of land, labour and materials.

Meanwhile of course, the Federal Election campaign continues, and on the surface, it would seem the forests and timber industries will be well served by whichever side wins.

As with so many promises this election, the Coalition and the Opposition have been matching each other policy for policy.

The Coalition’s $100 million pledge for a trailblazing new National Institute for Forest Products Innovation headquartered at the University of Tasmania in Launceston has been matched, for example, by Shadow Minister for Agriculture Julie Collins.

But the Opposition’s promises need to be examined in the context of what is happening the Labor-held States of Victoria and Western Australia.

The Opposition has said publicly it supports the native timber industry, but Victoria and Western Australia have already announced the end of that industry.

So, unless the Opposition knows a way of making WA and Victoria think again on native timber that the current Federal Government hasn’t to date thought of, then the pledge as it stands is a bit hollow.

Actions, as the saying goes, would speak louder than words.