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Bring back rate rebates for city owner-occupiers: councillor

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An Adelaide city councillor has called for the reinstatement of rate rebates for owner-occupiers of city houses and apartments, after the council knocked back a proposal for a $100 grant.

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Area councillor Anne Moran said rebates were used decades ago to encourage people to live in and own properties in the CBD and North Adelaide.

“[It] was brought in before I was on council, when the owner-occupier rate had… dropped below 40 per cent,” she said.

“The Liberal Government removed the owner-occupier [rebate] saying it was a rate reduction for rich people, and then allowed us to provide a blunt instrument grant, which was around $300 for owner-occupier residence.”

The discussion follows a report by administration examining the cost to council for a $100 grant for businesses and residential owner-occupiers.

“It’s a very modest concession,” said North Ward councillor Phillip Martin.

“The cost of $600,000 to give that concession to 20 per cent of the residential rate payers, and to businesses as well.”

Despite Martin’s support for the proposal, a grant would not come into effect for the 2019-20 budget.

South Ward councillor Dr Helen Donovan said she would need to see more research into the advantages of such rebates before supporting such a motion.

“I would actually not support that kind of addition to the budget in general, until we have some evidence that it actually makes any difference,” she said.

“I cannot imagine that $2 a week would influence anyone to move into the city.

“But if there was some evidence to suggest that it did, then that’s fabulous, let’s do that,” she said.

Moran said as renters now make up approximately 70 percent of people living in the city, more should be done to encourage people to own and occupy properties.

But further debate was needed before deciding if businesses should be included in any potential rebate.

“Most businesses in the city, for tax reasons, will rent their premises and there’s no disadvantage there…they receive other tax rebates,” she said.

“I don’t think tonight we work out if we want businesses or we don’t… it’s definitely an advantage to owner-occupiers because they’ve put their money where their mouth is.”

Area councillor Robert Simms agreed with Moran but said any rebate scheme would need to be capped.

“We’re seeing an increase for people to make money on things like AirBnB, so something that does provide an incentive for people to live and own in the city I think is potentially a good thing,” he said.

“[But] anything like that should be means tested.”

 

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