Win for housing affordability as land tax on vacant homes realised

Caroline Le Couteur, MLA

The ACT Greens today welcomed the Government’s agreement on the land tax on vacant homes, onwards from Caroline Le Couteur’s vacant land tax motion last year.

Last March the Greens called for an extension of the current land tax system to also tax vacant properties, irrespective of whether they are being rented out or otherwise.

“Houses should not be sitting empty while an increasing number of Canberrans are struggling to find affordable housing,” said Greens spokesperson for Housing Caroline Le Couteur.

“A vacancy tax on vacant properties will go some way to freeing up some properties in what is an increasingly tight housing market.

“For too long both the ACT and Federal taxation systems have benefitted investors over home owners, contributing to housing stress for a growing number of Canberrans.

“While the Commonwealth Government must still act to address both negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount, this is a welcome step, bringing the ACT in line with other states and territories.”

A recently released Anglicare report found that in the ACT:

  • No homes were affordable for single parent families where the parent earns the minimum wage;
  • Only 28 Canberra rental properties were found to be affordable for a couple where both received the minimum wage;
  • Only 55 homes were affordable for single people earning the minimum wage.

Ms Le Couteur’s motion in March last year also called for a data analysis of just how many houses are vacant in the ACT for at least twelve months. The Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate (CMTEDD) then estimated the number of vacant properties in the ACT at around 1.5 per cent of properties - around 2,500 dwellings.