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Taxation Related Legislation (Housing Availability and Payroll Relief) Bill 2018 (No. 18)

[12.52 p.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) Mr President, first I thank the Leader for the information that has been provided and the briefing. They were very good. I will be supporting the legislation. The extra information, particularly these sheets, cleared up many of the issues and made it easier.

Ms Rattray - It saved making notes.

Ms ARMITAGE - I still made a few notes, but it certainly did make it a lot easier.

Ms Rattray - It was a big bill.

Ms ARMITAGE - It certainly is appreciated. Many of the areas have been covered so I will not go into too much depth but will look only at some of them.

Reducing the payroll tax for wages between $1.25 million and $2 million certainly will help some businesses, providing a three-year payroll tax exemption for wages paid by businesses to their employees in regional Tasmania. With business relocations to Tasmania, Leader, would it be considered more likely for a business to relocate from an area such as Hobart to a regional area? That is not listed at the moment, but it is probably a more likely scenario.

Mrs Hiscutt - Is this a suggestion? It is a suggestion to relocate from the mainland.

Ms ARMITAGE - I appreciate that, but I am not sure that a three-year payroll tax exemption is a sufficient incentive for a business to relocate from the mainland. It certainly might be for a business to relocate to a regional area within Tasmania.

Mr Dean - A go-ahead one like Launceston?

Ms ARMITAGE - Well, I was thinking that Launceston is classed as regional, or even the north‑west -

Mr Valentine - Trying to cut us out by stealth, I can see that.

Ms ARMITAGE - Or even the north-west coast, or any of those areas that seem to have higher unemployment. That might be more of an incentive to those businesses as opposed to someone coming from the mainland.

Looking at some of the others: I have a question on providing a three-year land tax exemption for all newly built housing made available for long-term rental. If there are many blocks and a spec builder builds a house purchased by someone who is going to make it available for long-term rental, do they still receive the three-year land tax exemption even though they did not build the house? Do you have to have built it to receive that? Can you purchase it from a spec builder, make it available for long-term rental and still receive the three year land tax exemption?

Mrs Hiscutt - I am trying to understand your question. For example, if you bought a house, a spec home -

Ms ARMITAGE - For example: I did not build the house, I bought it from a builder and I am going to make it available for long-term rental. Is it purely for people who build a house to make it available long term or can it also be for someone who purchases the house from a spec builder? It is not clear but I wondered about that.

There is a one-year land tax exemption for short-stay accommodation. I agree with the member for McIntyre and I will be supporting her amendment. I do not like discrimination and I believe that discriminates against other regional areas that have problems as well. I will be supporting that we change the term 'Greater Hobart area' to 'Tasmania'.

In extending the First Home Owner Grant of $20 000 - I appreciate that for first home owners of new homes, this is an extra incentive. It helps other industries, particularly the building industry, so I do not have a problem with that. I noticed it provides for a 50 per cent stamp duty concession to first homebuyers of established homes. I understand some members do not agree with that. That is their option. Having been in the industry and having dealt with real people, I think that is the difference. I am not looking at the figures that economists may have come up with, or listening to different groups who may have said this affects things in different ways - I have been on the ground dealing with real couples, real people, who had not had a first home and who wanted to buy their first home because they were in the rental market on a treadmill they could not step off.

I know from my own experience that when they were given $5000 or $7000, it was more a grant than a stamp duty. It enabled them to have a deposit. There was one lady who worked at one of the banks who would deal with that, and she was absolutely marvellous at working it out. That money helped people with their deposit and helped them get off that rental market treadmill and into home ownership.

Mr Willie - Banks want to see a savings history so I do not think the First Home Owner Grant can be counted as a deposit. You have to demonstrate a savings history as well.

Ms ARMITAGE - I can assure you it was counted as a deposit. I do not know about their savings history. On many occasions, I sold homes to young first home owners. In this example, this lady was the person who organised the money that came through for them and that became their deposit. They may have had some other funding. I do not know how it worked but it really assisted them and put them into their first home.

In other ways, and some people do not agree with this, it also frees up the houses they were renting. We have a shortage of rentals, so if we can assist people get into home ownership there are benefits all round. Some people say it inflates the price. I have never had a vendor come to me and say, 'Gosh, there is a home ownership grant out there, I think I will put the price of my house up by $10 000'. Never. People always ask more than they think they can get and they will always try to get as much as they can, regardless of whether there is a grant. It is ludicrous to me. I have read the different economic opinions. I see where they are coming from, but having been on the ground and having sold houses, I have never seen it happen. I have seen a lot of people get into a home because of a home ownership grant, and I think that is absolutely wonderful.

I commend the Government for doing something for first homebuyers. I have said in the past that I believe they have been discriminated against. I appreciate first home builders receive more, but there is also more flow-on to other industries. I am pleased to see that even though it is 50 per cent, around or up to $7000, it will help a lot of people. I would rather help people on the ground, the real people, rather than look at figures and say, 'Gosh, the Government could put that into something else.

Sitting suspended from 1 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.

[2.41 p.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, earlier I was speaking about the stamp duty concession to first home buyers of established homes. While not wishing to labour the point, I thank the Government for this incentive for first home buyers. I appreciate that some economic commentators do not believe this is in the best interests of the Government in saving money or the best way to spend taxpayer money. Many of the incentives in this bill are not there for that reason. They are there to encourage businesses to relocate to Tasmania, to encourage businesses to take on apprentices, to help the building industry and to help the rental market. I see this as being along those lines. I disagree with the views of some of our economists and others in some instances. Having dealt with first home buyers, and all people are equal, why should some people -

Mr Dean - They love figures and play around with figures all the time; that is all it is.

Ms ARMITAGE - People can play around with figures, but I would rather not discriminate against anyone. Someone who cannot afford to build a new home and can only afford to buy an older home is equally as important as somebody who can build a new home, or a business that receives a tax incentive.

I thank the Government. While some people may consider this a waste of money or that the money could be spent better somewhere else, I see it as money well spent if it is helping a couple, whether young or old, get into their first home. If they had been renting in the past and that house is available for someone else to rent, that is a good point when we have a shortage of rental properties. I hope the Government continues it past the 12 months.

I have not covered a couple of other issues relating to apprentices. It is a good move to extend the payroll tax rebate scheme relating to apprentices and trainees. We all know of the skill shortage and it would be good if we could encourage more people to get into apprenticeships and traineeships. Not everyone is cut out for university. I have two sons who are in trades - without tradesmen, where are we? Having been married to a tradesman in the past and not being married to a tradesman now, I notice the difference in having to pay for things to be done when it used to be free.

Mr Dean - I like to hear a good, positive approach.

Ms ARMITAGE - It is a positive approach. Fortunately, I have a good relationship with the ex-husband, but now he charges me. You appreciate a good tradesman and encouraging people into trades is worthwhile.

Short-stay accommodation - we have an inquiry on foot and we will look at that much more closely as the year goes on.

Leader, I see these as good moves, they do not discriminate and they are helping a wide range of people. I will be supporting the bill.

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