Australians across party lines and age groups are backing a controversial crackdown on property investors to improve housing affordability, with 54% supporting reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax, according to a special news poll conducted exclusively for The Australian
Voters are throwing greater support behind the two reforms amid tense political clashes over tax breaks worth $8bn annually, lending weight to an argument within the government to overhaul capital gains tax in the Federal Budget on 9 May. In contrast, there is no similar groundswell for a divisive proposal to allow younger Australians to access their superannuation to buy their first homes, with more voters opposing than endorsing the proposal, regardless of whether they vote for Coalition, Labor, or the Greens.
The housing package is a vital part of the budget but is still being disputed by Malcom Turnbull, Scott Morrison
, and other cabinet ministers who are trying to reach a consensus about whether to target the tax breaks for property investors.
Morrison has not ruled out adjusting the 50% discount on capital gains tax, which remains a big incentive for people buying investment properties. However, he has slammed Labor for planning to halve the discount and restricting negative gearing to newly constructed homes.
The news poll found that support for more stringent rules on property investors cut across party lines, with 52% of Coalition voters backing the changes, compared with 57% of Labor voters and 65% of Green voters.
Asked if they were in favour of or opposed to curbing negative gearing and reducing capital gains tax deductions for investors, 54% of all respondents were in favour, while 28% were against the reforms and 18% uncommitted. The reforms were endorsed by 56% of voters aged 18 and 34, 50% of voters aged 35 to 49, and 55% of voters aged over 50.
Ministers have canvassed the idea of allowing people to access their superannuation to buy their first homes; however, sources within the government say it is unlikely to proceed given that Turnbull has previously dismissed the proposal.
The poll – which surveyed 1,686 voters in all Australian states between 20 and 23 April – found that 49% opposed the idea of accessing super to fund first home purchases, while 42% were in favour. Fifty-one per cent of Coalition voters opposed the idea, as did 50% of Labor voters and 51% of Greens voters.