Greens secure better housing deal for vulnerable South Australians

After intensive consultation with numerous stakeholders, the Greens have supported the passage of the Government’s Land Tax Amendment Bill that included a package of affordable and social housing-related measures.

“The Greens are pleased that despite all the concessions that were granted to property investors over recent weeks and months, the most important provision – removing the tax avoidance “aggregation” loophole – remains part of the Bill”, said Mark Parnell MLC.

“Aside from closing tax loopholes, the Greens also wanted to ensure that those who are struggling to find appropriate and affordable housing are not left behind.

“For too long, this debate has focused on the interests of millionaire property developers. The Greens believe that housing should primarily be for people, not for profit.

In negotiations with the Government, the Greens secured the following additional commitments:

1. An additional $7.5 million per annum from 2020/21 for upgrades and improvements to existing public housing stock;
2. An additional $2 million per annum from 2020/21 to increase the provision of emergency accommodation and transitional housing for people in need. This includes women and children affected by family violence and people experiencing homelessness;
3. A 5 year trial for a scheme to provide a land tax exemption for private houses that are rented as affordable housing while they are managed by a community housing provider (c.$400K pa for 5 years);
4. Mandating “universal design” as a building and design standard for 75% of all new public housing. This will ensure public housing is built to be usable by everyone, regardless of their ability or disability;
5. Installing solar panels on a minimum of 75% of all suitable existing public housing;
6. Installing batteries together with solar panels in a minimum of 75% of new public housing;
7. Legislating that land subject to heritage agreements under the Native Vegetation Act is exempt from Land Tax;

These additional commitments are on top of the announcements yesterday by the Government for over $400 million over ten years for affordable housing, which the Greens also helped secure as part of negotiations.

“Whilst the Greens are happy to have secured a much better deal to provide renewable energy and improve housing outcomes for those most in need, we remain disappointed that the wealthiest property owners continue to get unnecessarily generous tax concessions.

“With the Labor Party having ruled itself out of negotiations, it was left to the Greens to salvage what we could for the most vulnerable South Australians. If Labor had accepted the fairness of the aggregation measures at the outset, we would have been debating how best to spend $80 million of extra revenue. Instead, the big end of town got what they wanted at the expense of struggling South Australian families. Labor’s belligerence made achieving a fairer outcome much harder.

“The Greens are proud to have stood up for struggling South Australian families and secured valuable commitments for extra funding.

“The inclusion of solar panels and batteries in the package means that more public tenants will be able to reduce their electricity bills. That’s a great win for those struggling with the cost of living”, concluded Mark Parnell.