Peter Costello

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Australia's Land Audit

NO.061

AUSTRALIA’S LAND AUDIT

I have written to State Governments, the housing industry and land developers to begin the audit of all land to identify land which could be released for new housing.

It is essential to identify the land which is available for housing so that our growing population can expand without putting untoward upward pressure on the price of existing housing stock.

No audit of this size or scope has been attempted before.

The Federal Government recognises that housing affordability is a complex issue and there are many aspects that govern it on both the demand and the supply side. In order to keep housing affordable to young Australians we need to maintain a strongly growing economy, robust employment growth, rising real wages and keep interest rates low.

This has been the focus of the Government since it came to office in 1996 as well as providing specific assistance through such measures as the First Home Owners’ Scheme.

However, other impediments to home ownership remain.

Delays in the release of land due to State governments and local council processes are restricting the opportunity of first home buyers. State taxes and charges including land tax and stamp duty are also adding to costs.

Last week, Mr Rudd admitted that stamp duties are hurting affordability:

Journalist: What about encouraging State governments to cut land tax and stamp duty?
Rudd: When it comes to the whole impact of taxes and charges on development costs, we understand that that’s part of the overall affordability equation.

- Kevin Rudd doorstop, 9 July 2007

The Shadow Treasurer promised on ABC radio on July 4, 2007:

“I’m happy to talk to the States about stamp duty.”

The Commonwealth has been engaging with State Governments to cut stamp duty for years and will hold States to dismantling the taxes that State governments agreed to abolish in 2000 as part of the GST deal. The Commonwealth has repeatedly cut income tax since 2000, with the most recent income tax cut taking effect on 1 July 2007.

CANBERRA
16 July 2007

Contact: Renae Stoikos - 02 6277 7340

16 Jul 2007

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