- BALLARAT, AAP – Victoria’s acting premier has defended plans to increase property taxes for the wealthy after Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the move as “punishing”.
Last week, Treasurer Tim Pallas announced $2.7 billion in budget measures that will mean developers and other wealthy landowners making a larger contribution compared with those at the bottom and middle of the wealth scale.
The changes include a 0.25 per cent increase in land tax for taxable landholdings between $1.8 million and $3 million and 0.3 per cent for those exceeding $3 million.
Stamp duty on properties worth more than $2 million will increase from 5.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent, raising an extra $137 million a year on average.
A new windfall gains tax will be also introduced for properties whose value is boosted when councils rezone them.
Mr Morrison described the proposed tax increases as “punishing” in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.
“We want people to take the dividends of the recovery to invest it back into the recovery. We don’t want to take it off them,” he told the newspaper.
“For anyone who’s investing or doing a bit better, it basically sort of says, ‘we’ll take it’.
“They’re taking the dividends of recovery.”
Acting Premier James Merlino said the new taxes were “appropriate, proportionate and absolutely reasonable”.
“For those that have made significant profits, it’s appropriate that there’s a greater contribution,” he told reporters in Ballarat.
Mr Merlino said stamp duty will remain lower than NSW’s top rate of seven per cent.
“If you’re purchasing a home for $2.5 million, your stamp duty right now is $137,500, it goes up to $142,500,” he said.
“If you own land holdings of $2 million, your land tax will go up by $500.
“It is modest.”
Mr Pallas on Saturday said the reforms were consistent with those being brought in by US President Joe Biden to “mobilise new revenue from those in the best position to contribute”.