New South Wales Labor has pledged to eliminate stamp duty for first home buyers purchasing properties worth up to $800,000 if it wins the March state election, in a bid to counter the Perrottet government’s tax changes.
Labor’s proposal, announced on Monday, would also apply a concession rate to homebuyers paying between $800,000 and $1m for their first property.
The party saying the changes would result in 95% of all first home buyers in the state paying no tax or a reduced rate on their home.
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The Liberal premier, Dominic Perrottet, announced tax changes in the June state budget – that passed parliament in November – allowing first home buyers buying properties under $1.5m to choose between paying upfront stamp duty or an annual, ongoing $400 property tax plus 0.3% of the property’s land value.
Perrottet argued the land tax option would help young people save and cut up to two years off the time it took to gather a deposit.
Labor opposed the scheme, calling it a “forever tax” and a “Trojan horse” to introduce an ongoing broad-based land tax on residential properties that could be hiked up by future governments.
“If you’re already on that merry-go-round, you have to trust this premier and all future premiers not to up the land tax rate on your family home,” the Labor leader, Chris Minns, said at the time, flagging that the party would repeal the tax if it won office.
In announcing the new policy on Monday, Minns said: “I understand the stress of trying to purchase your first home. I want more singles, couples and families realising this dream. What I will not do is saddle first home buyers with a new, yearly tax bill that increases every year.”
Perrottet has long wanted to scrap stamp duty, previously calling it the “worst tax” and a handbrake on home ownership, but has said getting rid of it entirely was not possible without assistance from the federal Treasury.
NSW raked in $14.5bn in revenue from stamp duty – also known as transfer duty – in the 2021-22 financial year, according to Revenue NSW.
Labor’s announcement comes a day the party released details of a policy that would improve NSW renters’ rights to pets, allowing them to apply for permission to keep a pet and receive automatic approval if the landlord hadn’t responded to their application within 21 days.
The policy would also define the circumstances in which a landlord could refuse to allow tenants to keep a pet and give renters a right to recourse through the NSW civil and administrative tribunal.
Minns said on Sunday the pets-in-rentals policy would help reduce the number of animals being surrendered to shelters due to the landlords refusing permission.
“There are over 20,000 pets abandoned every single year and given to the RSPCA, and with increasing numbers of people having to and choosing to rent in NSW, we need to make sure there are fair and reasonable rules in place to help them,” he said.
The policy is similar to existing laws in Victoria and Queensland.