Canberra cash should spell the end of Queensland’s land tax grab

Queensland’s property industry is calling on the State Government to scrap significant increases to land tax, following the Commonwealth Government decision to bring forward $650 million in major project funding for Queensland, and deliver $680 million in new funding.

Property Council Queensland Executive Director, Chris Mountford, said that the land tax increases announced in June’s State Budget were an attempt to plug a Budget hole that will now no longer exist.

“This is a very welcome announcement by the Federal Government and comes at a critical time for the local economy,” Mr Mountford said.

“The Queensland Government should use this opportunity to scrap its economically damaging land tax increases in order to further support local jobs growth.”

June’s Queensland State Budget introduced a sizeable increase to the general business rate of land tax, and introduced a new surcharge for overseas companies and trusts that will effectively double their land tax liability.

In her Budget speech and subsequent media comments, the Treasurer outlined that the land tax measures were a reluctant result of “Canberra’s cuts” and committed to repeal them if Canberra restored “Queensland’s fair share.”

“The Federal Government’s new commitment will be a big boost to the State’s balance sheet, and affords Queensland the opportunity to avoid imposing these harmful new taxes” Mr Mountford said.

The Office of State Revenue has been devising an exemption framework from the overseas surcharge for economically significant investments since June’s Budget. While the Government has been working to finalise this framework, no land tax has been collected from overseas entities.

“The Treasurer could make the decision today to repeal the overseas land tax surcharge and issue these entities with their normal land tax assessments.”

“If this tax is imposed, Queensland will face a substantial competitive disadvantage against southern jurisdictions for the retention and attraction of investment.”

“We will also see many Australian investors liable to pay the new foreign surcharge, and rents increasing for many Queensland businesses.”