On September 12 the State Government released its revised position on Land Tax. This followed a sustained and strong backlash to the Government’s State Budget announcement to change aggregation laws.
Treasurer Rob Lucas announced that while the aggregation would remain, meaning multiple property owners using differing ownership structures/family trusts etc will be treated as one entity for land tax purposes, the land tax rate will be reduced immediately from the current high 3.7% to 2.4%, the national ‘average’. Prior to this the rate was to drop 1% per annum until 2017 to 2.7%.
At the same time Treasurer Lucas admitted that these changes will net the Government $86m pa and that without the drop in rate the net income to State Government would have been $118million pa. This is in contrast to the $40m pa that was stated to be collected at the time the State Budget was announced. While lowering the rate has been cautiously welcomed, opposition to aggregation remains particularly from the property sector. MLC members SABest’s Frank Pangallo and Independent John Darley also remain opposed. The Opposition are to hold a series of public forms to determine their policy position. The AHA|SA remains involved behind the scenes. The Draft Land Tax Bill is open for public consultation until early October.