Queensland Government's land tax regime a 'slap in the face' amid rental crisis

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on December 23, 2021 Fact Checked
Queensland Government's land tax regime a 'slap in the face' amid rental crisis

The proposal to close Queensland's land tax 'loophole' has the state government "dipping into the piggy bank of property owners yet again".

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has been quick to criticise the recent announcement, calling it "disappointing" and a "slap in the face" to the sector propping up the economy.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella called the proposal "the wrong move at the wrong time", saying the government didn't consult with the relevant property stakeholder groups.

"This treatment of property investors as an endless money pit is outrageous - the government is raking in a huge stamp duty windfall, then relying on private investors to provide the lion’s share of housing supply, and now they’re slapping investors yet again with new taxes," Ms Mercorella said.

"How can the Government possibly justify slugging property investors with tax for land they own that isn’t even within our state borders? It’s utter nonsense that there's a 'loophole' to close."

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said the intention is to close loopholes for interstate investors that can claim the tax-free threshold and take advantage of lower tax rates in multiple states.

This comes off the back of the government pocketing 'soaring' stamp duty revenue - $5.38 billion this financial year - which is now expected to increase from $16.53 billion to $19.93 billion according to REIQ.

"All this is doing is deterring people from investing in Queensland and, instead, opting to invest where no multi-jurisdictional land tax applies," Ms Mercorella said.

"For those not scared off from investing in Queensland, and current investors brave enough to stick around, this tax will make their holding costs more expensive and the logical consequence of that is rent goes up."

For reference, rent asking prices are currently rising at the fastest annual pace since 2008, while many property experts warn of an incoming 'rental affordability crisis'.

Additionally, the latest data from Domain revealed the rental vacancy rate in Brisbane held at its historic low of 1.2% in November.

"In the midst of a rental crisis, it beggars' belief that this would be the lever the government pulls. It shows the government lacks the ability to think outside the square and come up with alternative and innovative solutions to find new revenue streams," Ms Mercorella said.

"You only have to look at the timing of this bombshell legislative reform to see the government is clearly trying to sneak this in under the radar at a time most people have clocked off for the year."


Image by City of Gold Coast on Unsplash

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Rachel is a Finance Journalist, and joined Savings in 2021. Coming from a background in the FinTech space, her interests include the innovation of lending technology, property, investing, and more. With a passion for educating and informing people about their finances, she hopes to increase the financial literacy of everyday Australians.

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