Calls to abolish stamp duty have been vindicated by a senate committee report released earlier this month. According to the report by the Economics References Committee, released on 8 May ‘stamp duties are an inefficient, productivity-damaging form of taxation, which ultimately increase barriers to home ownership’.
Stamp duties discourage land from being allocated to its most efficient use, distort housing choices and undermine housing affordability,” the report said. The senate enquiry findings were a step in the right direction and clearly vindicated what REINSW had been calling for for some time.
We are excited by the recommendations made that state and territory governments phase out conveyancing stamp duties. We encourage the Baird Government to follow this call to action and applaud the idea that the ACT Government's recent stamp duty reforms may provide a template—or at least a starting point—that other governments might consider in pursuing stamp duty reform.
However, we are concerned that the recommendation highlights, as per the Henry Report, that ‘this be achieved through a transition to more efficient taxes, potentially including land taxation levied on a broader base than is currently the case’. REINSW believes that land tax should also be abolished as part of taxation reform and is not part of the solution.
Land tax is a narrow based tax that only applies to property. Instead we support the broad based taxation solution in the form of an an increase in the GST and the abolition of all taxes associated with property.