Help to Buy Bill 2024 (Qld) Submission

May 27, 2024

Equitable Housing

The Commonwealth’s Help to Buy scheme is a national shared-equity scheme providing eligible homebuyers with a 30 per cent (for existing homes) or 40 per cent (for new homes) government equity contribution for the purchase of their first home. Eligible homebuyers must provide a minimum 2 per cent deposit to participate in the scheme and must meet household income thresholds. [1] The scheme will allow for 10,000 annual participants, who will also be exempt from paying lenders’ mortgage insurance upon home purchase.[2]

Queensland’s Help to Buy (Commonwealth Powers) Bill 2024 creates a constitutional basis for the Help to Buy scheme by undertaking a text-based referral of power to the Commonwealth under section 51(xxvii) of the Constitution. The Help to Buy (Commonwealth Powers) Bill 2024 does not interfere with or supersede the operation of existing programs of lending for homeownership, the Pathways Shared Equity Loan and the Mortgage Relief Loan.

The Help to Buy Scheme gives prospective first home buyers not living in social housing in Queensland the opportunity to access shared equity homeownership. The scheme will be administered by Housing Australia, with the Commonwealth committing to cost-neutrality for participating states and territories. This allows for the expansion of shared equity homeownership without an increase in Queensland’s budgetary expenses.[3]

Moreover, the use of a text-based referral restricts the Commonwealth from making any legislation extending beyond the content of the referral. This form of referral prevents the granting of “unfettered control” over a referred matter to the Commonwealth.[4] This may be compared with general referrals of power to the Commonwealth, described as effectively granting “carte blanche” to the Commonwealth over a referred matter.[5][6]

For these reasons, the Centre for Equitable Housing at Per Capita supports the passage of the Help to Buy (Commonwealth Powers) Bill 2024.

[1] Julie Colins MP, ‘Help to Buy to Deliver More Support for Australian Homebuyers | Treasury Ministers’ (28 November 2023) <>.

[2] Laura Schatz, Help to Buy Bill 2023 [and] Help to Buy (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2023, Bills Digest (5 February 2024) <>.

[3] Parliament of Queensland, Help to Buy (Commonwealth Powers) Bill 2024 (2024) <>.

[4] Jason Arditi, Industrial Relations: The Referral of Powers (September 2009) <,%20Industrial%20Relations%20-%20The%20Referral%20of%20Powers.pdf>.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Justice RS French, Co-Operative Federalism in Australia – an Intellectual Resource for Europe? II (Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 22 February 2006) <>.