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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

1 December 2005

Beazley Labor's 'McMansion' plan to downsize middle Australia

Kim Beazley's proposed housing policy would transform Australia from the Lucky Country into the Nanny Nation, where we are dictated to about what type of home our families live in, Environment and Heritage Minister Ian Campbell said today.

Senator Campbell said Labor's plan to restrict house sizes because big homes were "energy guzzlers" and that first home owner grants be denied to people not conforming to Labor's policy doctrine was an assault on middle Australia and the great Australian dream of home ownership.

"This policy is an attack by Mr Beazley's Labor Party on families who dare to aspire to a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the suburbs with a backyard and a barbeque," he said.

"In Kim Beazley's own electorate of Brand in Western Australia, almost 1000 homes were built in the past three months, many of which would not conform to Labor's new down-sizing policy.

"In the fast-growing areas around Werribee and Hoppers Crossing in Victoria, about 2000 new houses were built in the same period and in New South Wales, 330 homes were built in the Liverpool area. What are these new home owners supposed to do under Labor subdivide or demolish and start again?"

Senator Campbell said Mr Beazley should note comments by University of Western Sydney Fellow Fiona Allon in the Australian newspaper today that people 'take great offence in being spoken to in those simplistic terms as if they are environmentally irresponsible consumers. A lot of people who do live in so-called McMansions are aware of the environment.... These are houses people can actually afford to live in and they offer the virtues of space, privacy and home ownership that have been encouraged for a very long time..." (The Australian, 1 December 2005, p.3).

"In contrast to Labor, the Australian Government is taking real action to ensure homes are built today and into the future to be energy efficient and comfortable," Senator Campbell said.

"The Howard Government has implemented mandatory minimum energy efficiency standards and energy labelling of electrical appliances that are forecast to save 134 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions between 2003 2018. That's one quarter of Australia's total annual emissions."

"The Government has also created the world's first national Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme, providing for water efficiency labels on all showerheads, washing machines, toilets, dishwashers, urinals and taps. As well as saving consumers money, this scheme will save around 570,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions by 2021 equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.

"These initiatives are ensuring our homes are climate friendly without denying people choice - Australians are smart enough to make their own decisions. Kim Beazley should butt out of our backyards."

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia