Tax hikes in Victoria
Property tax hikes in Victoria are not popular. Image – Canva.
  • Widespread anger over the increases in stamp duty tax
  • REIV welcomed the Opposition party stance on stamp duty
  • CFMEU feared up to 18,000 jobs could have been lost by 2023

The Victorian budget, announced last week, has been extensively examined by everyone left, right, and centre.

Early last week, the Property Council Victoria took umbrage at the land tax and stamp duty hikes, labelling them a “sucker punch” to the industry.

“One in four Victorians work in property and the Victorian Government is raising taxes at a time when it should be creating jobs,”

Danni Hunter, Victorian Executive Director of the Property Council.

Yesterday, the Liberal National state opposition and the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) likewise pilloried the policy. REIV President Leah Calnan supported the opposition’s plan to remove the stamp duty rise, but said there’s more to the problem.

Leah Calnan
Leah Calnan. Image – LinkedIn.

“While it’s encouraging to see some elected representatives taking a more sensible approach to stamp duty, a fundamental restructuring of Victoria’s property tax regime needs to be at the top of any political agenda.”

Leah Calnan, REIV President

Ms Calnan also expressed concerns around how attractive Victoria would be to potential investors should the stamp duty tax increase go ahead.

“Unless there’s a significant shift in the thinking and action on property tax, Victoria will become a less desirable place to invest, ultimately harming jobs and the economy.”

Union response

Yesterday, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) also responded to the Victorian budget.

The CFMEU has come out this week applauding the Victorian Government’s announcement to grant a stamp duty exemption on inner city residential developments amongst other property sector stimulus measures.”

The union “feared up to 18,000 jobs could have been lost by 2023,” following pandemic induced issues in the construction industry in Victoria.

“With very few developments beginning since the pandemic, the industry was beginning to lay off workers. Stamp duty exemptions are a much needed economic stimulus measure for the entire Victorian economy,” said John Setka from the CFMEU.

Unlike Western Australia which recorded a budget surplus, Victoria recorded a deficit of $11.6 billion, having endured a harsher lockdown than the rest of the nation.

By June 2022, net debt for the state is expected to reach $102.1 billion with the unemployment rate currently 6.1% – higher than the national rate of 5.5%, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

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