Peak body slams stamp duty

The Property Council of Australia has called on the federal government not to miss the opportunity to abolish what it refers to as the country's worst tax -- stamp duty.

The Property Council's newly appointed CEO has told Real Estate Business that if the government is serious about fundamental tax reform, it is time to put stamp duty out to pasture.

"We don’t have a timeframe yet, but the federal government has indicated it’s going to undertake a full review of Australia’s tax system. This is a big opportunity for the industry to address what we know as one of Australia’s worst taxes -- stamp duty,” said Mr Ken Morrison, who will replace CEO Peter Verwer and joins the Property Council from the Tourism and Transport Forum, where he worked as CEO.

“We need to retire our worst taxes, like stamp duty, and replace them with more efficient taxes.”

Mr Morrison said there clearly would be a need for replacement revenue sources for the government, but the Property Council is ready to be an active participant in the debate of those alternative options.

“There’s no doubt that stamp duty is a growth inhibiting tax for the property industry,” he added.

The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) agreed, stating the current state-based tax system is inhibiting economic growth and must be overhauled.

“We must move away from the narrow-based discriminatory taxes, including stamp duty, which inhibit growth,” said Malcolm Gunning, REINSW president.

“Instead we need a modern, broad-based tax system that will provide the government with its revenue and not impede or deter investment. The current state tax system is adversely affecting the growth of the state’s economy."

He added that REINSW had raised the flag and is now calling on other state property institutes and associations to voice their support for tax reform.

"The time to act is now, with increasing unemployment we must look for a modern tax system that will provide growth and employment.

“Abolishing these inefficient and inequitable taxes will also mean industry and commerce’s compliance costs, and the public servants administering the supporting bureaucracy in this area, vanish. These savings alone should be inspiration enough to justify the inquiry,” said Mr Gunning.


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