Landlords miss out

The State Government has admitted that it has paid out only $271,809 of the $100 million in land tax rebates pledged to WA landlords by June 17.

Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said hurdles for the rebate were set too high.

“We have pleaded with the State Government to reconsider,” Ms Brewer said. “To qualify for the rebate, WA building owners, who have braved challenging post-boom conditions, are asked to give rental waivers worth roughly 10 times the value of the rebate.

“On the east coast, which has experienced much stronger property market conditions, landlords have to pass on only the amount of the land tax rebate to qualify.

“WA landlords play a vital role in providing infrastructure support for small to big business operators. They have been asked to shoulder a disproportionate burden of the economic impact of the pandemic and - because of the high hurdles to qualify – most have effectively been excluded from access to land tax relief.”

Ms Brewer said the State Government’s capped $100 million land tax rebate was welcome but it was frustrating that so few property owners could benefit.

“We are relieved that the Commercial Tenancies Code, which applies for small businesses during the pandemic period to September 29, is now operating,” Ms Brewer said. “However, we will continue to ask for a fairer set of criteria for landlords, who have sacrificed tens of thousands of dollars in rent, to qualify for rebates on land tax already paid.”

In a written response to a question by Nationals MLC Martin Aldridge about whether the State Government would reconsider the criteria for land tax relief to deliver the $100 million as quickly as possible, the Minister representing the Treasurer Stephen Dawson said “not applicable”.

By June 19, The Small Business Development Corporation had received 381 applications for land tax relief and approved 46. The State Government said it would not know how much it would pay for the remaining claims until they had been processed.

Property Council members spoke to ABC News about this issue last week. Their comments can be found here.