Greens SA Statement on SA Land Tax Reforms

In a fair and compassionate society like Australia, while everyone contributes to ensure we have the public services and amenities we all need and use, inequality in wages and wealth mean that some are able to contribute more than others.

So, when those people in our society who have more wealth and assets, deliberately avoid contributing their share, it costs us all.  We all have less - less investment in our health services, less for education, less for essential infrastructure, less for public transport.

The Greens SA believe that everyone should contribute their fair share, so allowing some people to avoid paying their fair share, just isn’t acceptable.  We support a progressive tax system and closing legal loopholes that allow people to avoid or reduce paying their fair contribution.

Land tax is widely recognised as one of the fairer taxes because the more property you own, the more you contribute in tax.  Also, land tax is difficult to avoid.  You can’t pick up your investment property in Adelaide and move it to the Cayman Islands.

However, some land owners have been avoiding paying their share of land tax by using multiple legal entities, such as private companies and trusts, to split the legal ownership of property to get around rules that require tax to be paid on the total value of an owner’s property holdings.

The Greens SA support closing these legal loopholes.  Other States have done this already and it is time for SA to do the same. 

We look forward to seeing the detail of the State Government’s proposals and the chance to respond fully when it reaches State Parliament in coming months.

Ultimately, the Greens want to see South Australia transition to a system of broad-based land taxes, with appropriate concessions for low income households, coupled with the removal of stamp duties on residential property transactions. Stamp Duty is an inefficient and unreliable transaction tax that discourages people from moving house for work, family or other reasons.  Also, having a broader base means that the land tax rate can be lowered.

The Greens look forward to creating a more progressive and fairer tax system that benefits us all.