"Lose-lose": treasurer slams negative gearing plans

by Rebecca Pike19 Feb 2019

Housing industry leaders raised concerns about Labor’s housing taxes at a Housing Industry Roundtable yesterday.

Attendees included Property Council CEO Ken Morrison, Riskwise CEO Doron Peleg, Master Builders Association CEO Denita Wawn, the Real Estate Institute of Australia CEO Jock Kreitals and Yellow Brick Road chairman Mark Bouris.

The treasurer Josh Frydenberg and assistant minister for treasury and finance Zed Seselja also attended the forum to hear first-hand from industry experts.

Speaking about the event, Frydenberg said, “The clear message from the industry is that Labor’s plan to abolish negative gearing as we know it and increase the capital gains tax by 50% will have a significant detrimental impact on Australia’s housing market and the broader economy.

“This is a lose-lose policy; if you own your own home it will be worth less, and if you rent your home it will cost you more.

“With Australia’s housing market cooling, now is the worst possible time for Labor’s new housing taxes.

“What’s worse is that Labor can’t even name a start date for their signature negative gearing policy, creating even more uncertainty for Australians and the housing sector, and putting a cloud over their own costings.

“Bill Shorten must listen to the experts, admit Labor got this one wrong and ditch their big new housing taxes.”

Seselja said Australians who negative gear or make a capital gain are not rich.

“Two in three people who negative gear have a taxable income less than $80,000 and most own just one investment property,” he said.

“More than six in 10 of those taxfilers making a capital gain have a taxable income under $80,000, this includes tradies, farmers, nurses, teachers and hard-working families who save and invest to get ahead.

“Labor’s idea of fairness is not only to discourage those hard-working Australians who save, but to punish those who do.”

Recently, the Property Investors Council of Australia also spoke out about the plans for negative gearing. PICA chairman Ben Kingsley called the plans “ridiculous” and “absurd”.

He said, “Restricting negative gearing to new property was always a ridiculous so-called ‘solution’ to Sydney’s strong price growth, which has now well and truly dissipated because it was merely a sign of the peak of a market cycle.

“If the policy was absurd back then, it’s even more so now, with the national economy flat-lining due to a number of poor indicators including significant property price falls in our two biggest cities.