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Land tax opponents broaden their appeal

IN a win for the grass roots campaigning, the recently launched Land Tax Revolt campaign has received the backing of the Real Estate Institute of WA and the Property Council of WA, with other peak industry and community groups in sight.

The Land Tax Revolt campaign was launched earlier this year by Perth property group Mair & Co chairman John Mair to pressure for a State Government review of the land tax regime.

REIWA president Jim Henneberry said the institute had agreed to join forces with the Mair & Co Land Tax Revolt and planned to develop a coordinated approach that would be rolled out over the next 18 months, in the lead-up to the State election.

Mr Henneberry said discussions were being held with all property sectors, including the Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA) and the Housing Industry Association.

“It is shaping up to be one of the biggest campaigns against a government,” he said.

According to Property Council of WA figures land tax has increased under the Gallop Gov-ernment by 25 per cent, with annual land taxes increasing $51 million.

Mr Henneberry said land tax was eroding housing affordability and the removal of exemptions flew in the face of the message to invest and prepare for retirement.

“There needs to be a total review of property tax. The Government is too reliant on all property taxes,” he said.

Mr Henneberry said the increases in land tax and removal of exemptions had affected a broad spread of people, not just interest groups, and that the campaign would involve a broad spread of organisations to reflect that.

The Property Council of WA, which recently launched its own land tax campaign, the Land Tax Rip Off, also supports the Land Tax Revolt.

Executive director Joe Lenzo said there was no question that a movement had been started and that the opposition has seized upon the issue as a point of difference.

Mr Lenzo said not only had the Government got the business community offside, but there was pressure from the general community for something to be done about land tax.

“This is a big taking and big spending government that is using its tax windfall to prop up its social policies and appease unions when it should be reducing tax to allow business and the economy to grow faster,” he said.

To date the council has distributed 5,000 postcards calling on the Government to move to a flat rate of land tax, cap land tax revenues to the CPI, abolish land tax aggregation and guarantee an end to increases in land tax rates.

The Land Tax Revolt has had 8,000 bumper stickers printed and has started a petition. Mr Mair said the campaign would keep rolling along towards the election.

“We shall just keep spreading the ripples in the pond,” he said.

The Inner City Housing Development Association, Independent Retirees and the Property Owners Association have also jumped on board the campaign.

ICDHA president Laurance Goodman said land tax was a significant factor in holding land for inner-city housing developments, with property buyers ultimately bearing the cost.

Mr Goodman said a review of the land tax regime was needed if the Department of Planning and Infrastructure was to show commitment to its platform of encouraging more urban infill and restricting urban sprawl.

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