Page 3629 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013
Those opposite went to the last election proposing to put stamp duty back up. They want to put stamp duty back up. They want someone who buys a $300,000 home to pay another $1,400 in stamp duty. That is their position. They want someone who wants to buy an average home in the territory to pay another $3,500 in stamp duty. That is what they want, Mr Assistant Speaker. Their position is: “No, we would rather hit you with $3,500 up front, and soon it will be $10,000 up front, in order to avoid having to pay another $100 a year in rates.” It is $10,000 up front, $100 a year in rates. Do the maths on that, Mr Assistant Speaker.
That is why we are reforming taxation. Stamp duty is the biggest inhibitor to affordable housing. That is why the Grattan Institute made this the key focus of their report released this week. It looks at the complexities of reforming tax to make housing more affordable and says:
Repealing stamp duty in favour of an annual property tax would greatly lower the cost of moving, making it easier to relocate for job opportunities, or to a more suitable home. It would also encourage the more productive use of land in our cities.
Indeed, of the three recommendations in this report, “Elimination of stamp duty and introduction of a broad based annual property tax” is the key recommendation. The report recommends that the change be phased in, which is exactly what the ACT government is doing. In today’s Financial Review, referring to the Grattan Institute’s report, the reporter notes:
A call to replace stamp duty with a broad-based annual land tax has been widely backed by the property industry, which says it would improve home ownership and stimulate construction.
That is exactly what we are doing in the territory. It is the right policy setting. Of course we should be pursuing it. Every government in Australia should be pursuing it. It is the right thing to do. That is why we are doing it.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (4.45): The importance of affordable housing in the ACT is of keen interest to me in my role as Minister for Housing, as the minister responsible for homelessness, as an MLA, and simply as a Canberran.
The issue of affordability, and the various definitions that relate to renting and home ownership, is subject to considerable debate and discussion in the ACT. It seems that every other week we see a different report or study on this issue. I thank the leader of the Canberra Liberals for bringing this matter to the Assembly today; and yet it was an issue that was disappointingly underrepresented by the federal coalition in the recent election. I hope that Mr Hanson will reconsider his stated claim that the Legislative Assembly has no role in national affairs, and will overcome this reluctance and start talking with his federal colleagues as soon as possible about his quite genuine concerns.