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Greens call for developer tax in State Budget

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The South Australian Greens say they will push the Malinauskas Government to introduce a developer tax in next week’s State Budget in a bid to raise funds for the construction of 4000 public homes.

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With spiralling cost-of-living issues set to play a major role in Treasurer Stephen Mullighan’s first budget next Thursday, the Greens say an increased supply of public housing should be at the top of Labor’s agenda.

The minor party estimates that a 75 per cent developer tax on land value increases after rezoning would generate up to $1.7 billion over four years, enough to fund the construction and maintenance of 4000 public homes.

Labor took to the election a $182 million pledge to build 400 new public homes across the state and upgrade a further 350 to tackle the state’s public housing waitlist.

But Greens MLC Robert Simms said the government’s pre-election pledge was “woefully inadequate” given South Australia is “in the midst of a full-blown housing crisis”.

“The new Government has an opportunity to significantly increase its investment in public housing by finally ensuring developers pay their fair share of tax,” Simms said in a statement.

“A tax like this has worked for years in the ACT – it could be introduced here in South Australia.

“Of course, we welcome the fact that the new government are going to build new housing but what they are proposing is really just a drop in the ocean, a major investment is needed.”

The developer tax would more than cover the estimated $1.64 billion cost for the construction and maintenance of 4000 public homes over four years, Simms estimates.

Adelaide remains the least accessible rental market of any Australian capital city with a rental vacancy rate of just 0.2 per cent in March.

The South Australian Council of Social Service said prior to the state election that the housing policies of both major parties do “nowhere near enough” to address rental affordability and public housing investment.

Mullighan will hand down the Malinauskas Government’s first budget on June 2. The new treasurer unveiled a $100 million business recovery fund yesterday in a pre-budget announcement.

SA Property Council executive director Daniel Gannon was quick to slap down the idea, saying “there are no benefits in slapping taxes on property owners and investors who take great risks to purchase, own and develop land”.

“This suggestion from The Greens will only make it more expensive for landowners to develop property in South Australia – it’s all stick and no carrot and it’s everything we shouldn’t be doing to our economy,” he said in a statement.

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