Make housing affordable: Greens back calls for switch from stamp duty to land tax

Greens NSW Housing spokesperson Jan Barham MLC has welcomed the call by peak bodies from civil society and the business sector to phase out stamp duty and replace it with a broad-based land tax.

“I moved for our 2014 Parliamentary inquiry to recommend a transition from stamp duty to a broader land tax based on the clear evidence that it would improve the opportunity for people to find and afford a home. The Government and Labor wouldn’t support even considering a transition from stamp duty to land tax,” Ms Barham said.

“The new analysis released by NCOSS and the NSW Business Chamber provides more compelling evidence about the benefits for housing affordability and the broader economy.

“It’s time for the Government and Opposition to get over their reluctance to mention tax reform and support a move to tax land value instead of charging stamp duty on transactions.

“Stamp duty adds tens of thousands of dollars to the purchase cost of an average home in New South Wales, creating a barrier for new buyers and a disincentive for people to move despite changes in their housing needs. A broad annual land tax in its place would improve affordability for would-be home owners and promote better use of our existing housing stock and available land.”

Ms Barham said that given the extent of the housing affordability crisis across Sydney and many parts of New South Wales, all levels of government needed to look at using every mechanism available to improve the opportunity for people to find a home.

“Housing policy has been captured by the interests of developers and investors, instead of ensuring people have access to secure, appropriate and affordable homes.

“The Greens have shown that federal governments can improve housing affordability by reforming negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount. At the state level, the Government needs to wean itself off the stamp duty windfalls caused by the housing boom and act in the best interests of households by moving to land tax instead.

“These tax reforms need to be backed up with public and private investment to deliver affordable housing, and with planning reforms to ensure that all new developments provide a fair share of rental accommodation for essential workers and others on low incomes.

“It’s time for all governments and political parties to promote the wellbeing of our communities by ensuring people have the opportunity for a home that suits their needs.

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891