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Storm brews over tax

OUTRAGED property owners across the metropolitan area are rallying to fight the Gallop Government’s new premium property tax, which some have labelled as sinister and discriminatory.

The tax, released as part of the State Government’s first budget, will levy an annual 2 per cent tax on landowners with residential blocks worth more than $1 million.

About 900 property owners in suburbs such as Peppermint Grove, Applecross and Dalkeith will be hit by the tax, which is expected to boost government coffers by $12.1 million in the first year and around $10 million each year after.

The introduction of the tax has stunned property owners, some of whom are forming action groups and gearing up for a battle to have the tax scrapped.

The Home Owners Against Unfair Taxes group already has begun to draw in affected residents and is likely to join forces with action groups in Applecross, Dalkeith and East Fremantle.

Two action groups, representing affected residents in the areas of Applecross and Dalkeith are holding their first meetings next week.

And while some angry residents are investigating legal avenues, the Greens (WA) are likely to be the first port of call for the action groups, according to Applecross Action Group spokesperson Derek Fisher.

When the budget hits the Legislative Council, the Greens (WA) will hold five crucial votes.

“We are advertising in local newspapers and doing mail box drops just to first get everyone together,” Mr Fisher said.

“There is some work being done by solicitors who have been affected by the tax ... but we plan to fight this politically.

“The Greens need to think about it very carefully.”

Property Council of WA president Tony Packer said while the Government believed it was taxing the wealthy, many of those affected would be forced to sell their homes or face financial ruin because they would simply not be able to pay.

“The Gallop Government has got it dramatically wrong,” Mr Packer said.

“If they really wanted to pick out the wealthy then they should have looked at whole house and land package and other non-real estate assets.

“There are many people who bought their land decades ago when it was far cheaper who are doing alright, but would not be deemed incredibly wealthy, and who will not be able to afford to pay this tax.

“For example, there are older couples in Mosman Park who bought their land when the area was seen as ‘out-in-the-sticks’ and full of war service homes.”

p See Property section, pages 16-17, and Column, page 33.

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