The Australian Labor Party earned criticisms from the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) after Bill Shorten, the leader of the party, recently announced that there would be no decisions made regarding changes to existing negative gearing and capital gains taxation arrangements until after the federal election.

REIA questioned whether the ALP made the move to avoid voter backlash in the lead-up to the election.

“All Australians need to know what and when a Labor government, if elected, will do regarding property taxation. It is not acceptable to appear to be ‘having a couple of bob each way’ in the lead-up to the election,” REIA President Adrian Kelly said.

The industry group also said that while they welcome the party’s promise to consult, it should be done now and not after the election.

“Let’s look at all property taxes in a holistic approach and not just negative gearing and capital gains tax as if that’s the panacea to housing affordability,” Kelly said.

There is already enough market uncertainty, especially in the larger states, and a “nothing to see here” approach will only worsen this ambiguity, Kelly said.

“The ALP needs to come clean with what its election policies actually are so that all Australians – including the nearly 100,000 real estate businesses across Australia together with their employees and families – know exactly what they will be voting for and can make an informed decision at the ballot box,” Kelly said.

Under ALP’s proposed negative gearing changes, negative gearing will be limited to newly built properties. The party also plans to halve the capital gains tax discount for properties that are held longer than a year from 50% to 25%.