Calls to stop grants for $1 million houses

The New South Wales Government as renewed its calls to end the first home buyers' grant for people buying homes worth more than $1 million. The Fair Trading Minister, John Aquilina, says that people who can afford to purchase properties should not be given hand-outs from the taxpayer, and he called for the rules to be tightened.

It has been disclosed that about 250 Commonwealth first home buyers' grants have been given to property purchasers buying houses worth $1 million or more, with 24 of them selling for between $2 and $3 million. Most of the houses are in Sydney's eastern suburbs (68), on the lower North Shore (77), the northern beaches (35), inner Sydney (27) and upper North Shore (22). In total, the buyers received more than $1.86 million of grants.

The office of the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, did not react to the NSW Government's concerns yesterday but it is understood that the Treasurer has rejected calls to mean-test the grant twice already.