Today in Parliament, I asked the Premier how he intends to ensure that recent land tax relief will flow on to lower rents for tenants.
The full question:
Premier, Yesterday you announced in your Premier’s Address changes to land tax thresholds. You said “when combined with the changes we made last year, it will provide about $220 million of tax relief for property owners over the next four years – to put downward pressure on rents.
However, Mr Speaker we know that last year’s cuts did not result in more affordable rent – quite the opposite in fact with rents still significantly increasing and more and more Tasmanians experiencing housing stress.
Premier, what measures is your government going to introduce to specifically ensure that these land tax cuts get passed on to tenants or is this all about making the rich richer and actually does nothing to help the thousands of Tasmanian families struggling to afford to put a roof over their heads?
Unfortunately the Premier failed to grasp the basic economic fact that housing rents are primarily determined by market forces, not the cost pressures on landlords. Respected economiser, Saul Estlake, said yesterday that he does not expect reductions in land tax to be passed on in the form of lower rents. “It’s a myth propagated by the property industry, that land taxes affect rents, they don’t,” he said.
The Premier needs to come up with concrete policies and programs that will genuinely provide rent relief to struggling Tasmanians now, and not do the bidding of the landlord lobby.