Jackie Trad, the newly-appointed Treasurer of Queensland, defended the Palaszczuk government’s planned “Robin Hood” land tax ahead of Trad’s first budget update in December.
The treasurer’s Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Review, which was released on December 18, proposes a 2.5% land tax on properties worth more than $10m.
The tax, which was part of a suite of tax measures in Labor’s final campaign announcement, was one of the most controversial policies unveiled before the state elections, with the Property Council saying the tax would negatively impact land values and jobs growth.
Trad has dismissed such fears, saying the land tax would impact only 850 property owners.
“This is a very modest increase ... we think it’s fair that those that can pay a little bit more, do pay a little bit more,” Trad told reporters.
“We went to the election with a very clear comprehensive fiscal strategy, we outlined the revenue measures and the expenditure measures that we would be introducing this term and I’ll let that document speak for itself,” she added.
The re-elected Palaszczuk government, which is looking for sources of revenue to offset other spending, is expected to raise $227m through the land tax over the next three years.
Queensland Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander said the new land tax would have a larger impact than the Palaszczuk government was willing to admit.
“The Labor government has made out that this will have a minimal impact on a small number of people; that is simply not true,” he told reporters in mid-December. “There will be outcomes and consequences, which will lead to, we believe, increased rents for small businesses … it could affect farmers and it definitely will certainly impact business confidence, which means it will have an impact on jobs.”
Christopher Mountford, executive director of the Property Council Queensland, agrees with Mander, saying the new levy would negatively impact small businesses.
“It is not accurate to suggest that this tax will only impact the big end of town,” Mountford said in an official statement. “Many of the properties that will be impacted by this tax are commercial properties that are home to Queensland businesses employing thousands of Queenslanders.
“A tax on the land that a business is operating, is inevitably a tax on that business … This big new tax also has the potential to impact on mum-and-dad investors in body-corporate schemes throughout the state.
“To therefore say that less than one per cent of Queenslanders will be impacted is wrong. The direct and indirect impact of this decision will be felt across all communities.”
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