The Real Estate Institute of South Australia’s chief has slammed the increases in the emergency services levy (ESL), saying the “fresh grab for cash” is just another way to tax property owners.
REISA chief executive Officer Greg Troughton said the REISA understands the state government must replenish its coffers, but to constantly use property as the source of that income is “discriminatory” and does nothing but “throw a spanner into the natural cycle of homeownership”.
“We already have the most crippling land tax regime in the country and this massive increase in the ESL just adds one more burden to property owners,” he said.
“Why would you ever invest in a property if you just keep getting slugged with property tax after property tax?”
The REISA is concerned the rise in the ESL will impact most upon the people who cannot afford it, in particular those who are currently renting or plan to rent.
“There is no doubt landlords will pass the ESL rise on to renters,” he said.
“Feedback given to the REISA already indicates landlords will be definitely upping the rent to recoup this additional expense.
“While the increase in the ESL may seem to be small in terms of a yearly rent increase, it will most certainly start landlords thinking about rent reviews when perhaps they otherwise would not,” he added.
Mr Troughton said renters are often on low incomes and cannot afford to buy their own home.
“Any increase in rent – particularly to offset an additional government tax – can only set these individuals back further,” he said.
“Add expensive stamp duty and the abolition of the First Home Owner Grant to the mix and housing affordability and the dream of South Australians to purchase their first home is becoming just that – a dream.”