Page 829 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017

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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms Burch) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Vacant property tax measures

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.01): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that:

(a) in Victoria, land tax, unlike in the ACT, is an opt out system that covers all properties with exemptions for properties that are owner occupied, used for primary production or charitable purposes;

(b) the ACT like other Australian jurisdictions is experiencing an affordable housing crisis and:

(i) section 4 of the 2016 Labor-Greens Parliamentary Agreement seeks to address this issue in the ACT, including through development of a new Affordable Housing Strategy;

(ii) people in lowest income households are being pushed out of the rental market, and into strained social housing services, poverty and homelessness; and

(iii) that solving affordable housing issues requires a multi-layered approach with a large range of responses and initiatives; and

(c) that the Victorian Government has announced that it will introduce an additional vacancy tax on properties vacant for six months or more in selected suburbs;

(2) further notes:

(a) it is difficult to ascertain accurate figures on the current number of vacant properties in the ACT but there is no doubt there are some;

(b) the ACT Government charges land tax on rented properties but not on vacant properties, which is unfair for renters and for property investors who rent out their properties and pay tax;

(c) there are large numbers of properties left vacant interstate—estimated to be up to 80 000 in Victoria and 90 000 in NSW; and

(d) if land tax was applied as it is in Victoria or vacancy tax measures were introduced in the ACT, property owners would have an additional incentive to rent out their properties, therefore increasing the supply of rental dwellings; and

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