CANBERRA, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government may choose to toughen its foreign investment laws in an effort to ease the nation's housing affordability crisis, the nation's Assistant Minister to the Treasurer said on Tuesday.
Michael Sukkar said the government was looking at a range of measures to ensure young Australians and first home buyers were not priced out of the market by investors, and did not rule out making changes to foreign investment laws to help bring house prices down in major cities.
He told Sky News on Tuesday that while Australia will continue to welcome foreign investment in residential property, it must not come at the expense of everyday Australians trying to enter the cut-throat property market.
"There's always a balance of objectives that we want to manage here," Sukkar told Sky News. "On one hand, we are a country that welcomes foreign investment but on the other hand we are a government that says foreign investment has to be on our terms and have to be in our national interest."
"The (federal) budget is a couple of months away and we're reviewing basically everything as it affects the Australian residential property market in formulating our housing affordability package."
The minister said the government had not fully decided on its reforms, but added that lawmakers must put Australians first when deciding on its housing affordability package.
"I'm not going to mandate what those measures will be other than to say we are at government that has the 'runs on the board' when it comes to imposing our national interests and our terms on any investment into Australian residential property by foreign individuals," Sukkar said.
"I can assure (Australians) that the housing affordability budget will strike the right balance - noting that there are a number of objectives that we are trying to balance with these things."