REIA renews calls to nix stamp duty

By Gerv Tacadena | 22 Jul 2021

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has renewed its calls to axe property taxes to support housing affordability.

Adrian Kelly, president of REIA, said households across all states and territories, except the ACT, are now paying more stamp duty than 20 years ago.

"Politicians cannot, on one hand, gripe about housing affordability; and then on the other, say we need this income from homebuyers and owners to fund public sector operations," he said.

Kelly said the federal government should take this issue seriously rather than shift the responsibilities solely on states and territories.

"Calls from the NSW government to set up a productivity fund to incentivise stamp duty reform is one sensible approach to make the Council of Federal Financial Relations competitive and get this important reform going in earnest," he said.

However, Kelly said the proposed introduction of a land tax might not necessarily be a solution that state governments should consider.

"Experience in the ACT is that land tax has scared off investors from the market and significantly reduced the amount of private rentals available," he said.

The best alternative, Kelly believes, is a broad-based tax or a revision of the GST. This would be a better replacement and a fair alternative, he said.

"Alternatively, an opt-in approach to the payment of stamp duty, where the user elects what to pay and when is another pragmatic approach,” he said.

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