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Housing to top treasurers' gathering

Housing affordability is expected to be the hot topic when Treasurer Scott Morrison meets his state and territory counterparts in Canberra on Friday.

Mr Morrison has made tackling housing affordability the centrepiece of his second budget on May 9 but will be looking for support from other treasurers to take action.

A spokesperson for the treasurer said discussions will include an update on the federal government’s recently established affordable housing implementation taskforce.

“States and territories, including Victoria, will also be asked to update participants on recent steps they have taken to improve housing outcomes for their residents,” the spokesperson told AAP.

The treasurer praised the Victorian government for its efforts earlier this month for a suite of measures to try and ease housing pressures.

These included scrapping stamp duty for home purchases under $600,000, taxing vacant housing stock and a shared ownership plan with the government so buyers don’t need as big a deposit.

However, Mr Morrison has also made it clear the federal government won’t be bankrolling any state tax changes, such as stamp duty, at a time when their debt positions are a lot less than the commonwealth’s burden.

He believes a key factor to the problems facing housing is supply and here the states have the biggest levers to affect planning and zoning regulation.

The scope of the commonwealth’s housing affordability package will also cover renters and social housing.

The government doesn’t believe it is getting value for money the $6 billion of funding it provides the states for social housing each year.

The affordable housing implementation taskforce will aim at harnessing large-scale private investment through a “bond aggregator”.

The bond aggregator, similar to a UK model, would issue bonds and on-lend these funds to community housing providers, allowing them to access cheaper and longer term finance.

Other topics include blockages to business investment, infrastructure spending, cutting red tape and the new Critical Infrastructure Centre.

There will be discussions on digital disruption with the chair of the Turnbull government’s fintech advisory group making a presentation.

A report from the Commonwealth Grants Commission will be received on GST revenue-sharing relativities, as well as an update on the review of GST administration.

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