Thursday, 19 October 2023


Property and land taxes

Property and land taxes

Bev McARTHUR (Western Victoria) (18:36): (535) My adjournment matter for the Treasurer concerns his extension of the existing vacant residential land tax to include all of regional Victoria and additionally to cover all Victorian residential land underdeveloped for five years or more. I would like to illustrate the practical effect this can have on an individual, and I ask the Treasurer for reconsideration or, failing that, justification of his policy. My constituent owns a principal place of residence in regional Victoria and was bequeathed by his parents a very thin, tiny old cement sheet house less than 1 kilometre from his principal place of residence. He has also owned 3 acres of vacant land zoned rural residential for more than five years. He now faces a situation where both the tiny cement sheet house and the empty land are newly liable for tax. The house is so small and in such poor repair it can only be used for storage. It is entirely full and cannot be lived in; indeed the water supply is disconnected.

What is he to do: pay the tax for an uninhabitable building or pay thousands for storage and far more to redevelop the property? Since he bought the vacant land it has been my constituent’s dream to build his own house. This remains his intention. But as with all but the luckiest of us, the vicissitudes of life, specifically funding and serious health issues, have meant the dream remains uncompleted. What is he to do here: pay the tax or sell up the land and ditch his dream? Of course the government might say he can just pay the tax, but why should he? He is not a rich man or a land banker. He owns his own property and bought a plot of land on which he intended to build another before selling the first. They might say he can sell up, but again, why should he? These have been the plans of a lifetime, and yet with one stroke of the Treasurer’s pen my constituent becomes liable for two new taxes he cannot afford.

This is not targeting the wealthy or land-banking property barons, it is hitting a man with one house, an uninhabitable house used for storage and a plot bought to develop his dream home. He will now owe a brand new tax on two-thirds of his property. The action I seek from the Treasurer is confirmation that in both cases outlined the extended property and vacant land tax will be chargeable. I would also seek from the Treasurer, in the absence of a reconsidered policy, a justification of why the burden has fallen so heavily on a man in his situation. Was this really the intention?