The Labor Government has been forced into an embarrassing retreat on a big new housing tax on first homebuyers and families in Shepparton.
The Andrews Government dramatically axed the tax, which would have added an estimated $20,000 to cost of buying new housing, after backlash from the property, building and construction industries.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said while Labor says it won’t introduce its planned housing tax if re-elected, it has shown it can’t be trusted.
“The only way to ensure no new taxes is to change the government in November,” Mr Walsh said.
“Labor should never have pushed ahead with this new tax, particularly after nearly three years of COVID restrictions that have left too many Victorians in a financial blackhole.
“The Nationals want to see more people choosing to live in regional Victoria and more people able to afford to buy their dream home, because thriving communities attract new jobs and better services.
“A new government tax that makes it less affordable to buy your own home will only stop Victoria from being able to recover and rebuild.”
The tax was one of 41 new or increased taxes under the current Labor Government. By contrast, the Liberals and Nationals have a policy of no new taxes if elected in November.
Mr Walsh said Labor’s taxes came on top of a shortage of vacant land in the local region which was putting more pressure on housing affordability.
“Government can’t afford to ignore this problem – now is the time to be talking to industry and first homebuyers about what’s needed to solve the housing crisis,” Mr Walsh said.
“There’s solutions we could implement now, but the Labor Government is choosing to ignore these constructive ideas.
“This includes The Nationals’ positive plan for legislative change to unlock 50,000 vacant lots to market, in places they’re needed most, which is why it won’t apply to councils in Greater Melbourne or Geelong.
“We will also reinstate the successful rural flying planning squad with specialist planners to help cut lengthy delays at local councils.
“We need to make sure local people can buy a house, whether it be their first home or their dream home.”