Page 1234 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 6 April 2016

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Jointly, they said that making the switch from stamp duty to land tax would lower the cost of housing and reduce rents but it could also boost gross state product by more than one per cent and create up to 10,000 jobs. The NCOSS CEO said that modelling prepared by KPMG for their report shows that phasing out stamp duty and switching to a land tax—just what the ACT is doing—would improve housing affordability. In her words:

It would remove the disincentive for people to buy and sell property, making it easier for households to move as their needs change over time, enabling better use of the existing housing stock and reducing the upfront costs of home ownership. It would also place downward pressure on rents over time as investors seek less return on their investment to cover their costs. At a time when housing affordability is reaching crisis levels the NSW Government should be looking seriously at this proposal.

She also said:

This report shows the switch to land tax has widespread support and that support is growing.

NCOSS, the group that is focused on affordability and on cost of living pressures that struggling people are facing, is calling for New South Wales to adopt the ACT approach to stamp duty in order to improve affordability in a key area of housing.

On the other side of the spectrum, this New South Wales report is jointly supported by the New South Wales Business Chamber. The chamber points out that the report appeals to it for different reasons. Nevertheless, it also says that tax reform is necessary. It points out that switching from stamp duty to land tax has the potential to provide a boost of more than one per cent to gross state product, around 10,000 additional jobs and more than $1,400 in additional consumption for the average household.

The two groups both agree that the economic benefits are significant and the switch should be part of any conversation about solutions to housing affordability. If we want to have a conversation about costs and affordability, we should note that the New South Wales Council of Social Service as well as the New South Wales Business Council are supporting the tax reforms that the ACT is implementing—the same ones that Mr Smyth and the Liberals spend all of their time railing against.

When Mr Smyth comes in here today with a motion that talks about issues of cost pressures on Canberra families, it is worth reflecting on the recent work done by those two organisations in New South Wales, off the modelling of KPMG, which has shown the benefits that arise in a range of areas which go to real cost pressures and potential income increases for households from this tax reform.

As I touched on earlier, Mr Smyth also sought to make some linkages to light rail. I think this is actually Mr Smyth’s first motion on light rail; it is normally Mr Coe’s thing. It is good to see that Mr Smyth has embraced it.

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