Government insiders hope to come to an agreement with industry leaders to avoid a scare campaign on housing affordability before November’s state election. The Coalition has confirmed it will campaign against the tax, and the opposition’s messaging would be bolstered if respected industry bodies campaigned by the opposition’s side.
Property Council of Australia Victorian chief executive Danni Hunter, whom the Premier accused of backtracking on a deal to support the policy last week, said her aim was for the government to bring its proposal in line with the council’s recommendation of a tax between 1-1.5 per cent.
“We have been consistent in our messaging that we are committed to working with the government and the position we put forward in December,” she said.
All property industry bodies support the component of the government’s housing package that streamlines the planning process to speed up the building process.
The government has sought to link the cutting of red tape to the tax but, Mr Kandelaars argues a speedier planning system is a boon for the entire economy and requires no subsidy or loss on the part of the government.
His association will not support the tax, no matter what rate it is levied at. Instead, it will propose a broad-based community levy similar to the fire services levy which costs Victorian property owners about $115 per year. “[The need for social housing] is a community-wide problem and it deserves a community-wide solution,” Mr Kandelaars said.
Assistant Treasurer Danny Pearson did not answer whether the government would consider lowering the tax rate to win support from the sector. Instead, he reiterated Labor’s belief that it was fair and reasonable for property developers making higher profits due to planning changes to help pay for shelter for vulnerable Victorians.
“All that we’re asking in return is that they make a modest contribution in the order of millions of dollars to provide social housing to some of the most vulnerable and isolated members of our community,” he said. He emphasised the importance of government housing for victims of domestic violence, Indigenous Victorians and refugees. Victoria has the longest public housing waiting list in Australia.
“The government’s considering its position and we’ll have more to say about that in due course.”
Opposition emergency services spokesman Brad Battin said the Coalition would axe the levy if the government legislated it and the opposition won the election. “First home buyers deserve the opportunity to get into the market … and live the dream that we’ve all wanted here in Australia,” he said.
“The only person preventing that now is Daniel Andrews as he pushes tax to 40 per cent of every new home in the state.”
Article Source: www.brisbanetimes.com.au