Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Stamp Duty Relief To Boost Housing Affordability

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today called on States and Territories to direct some of their windfall stamp duty gains to housing services for low-income Australians.

She was responding to an ACOSS statement today at the Productivity Commission hearings into First Home Ownership.

Senator Patterson said the Australian Government is providing $4.75 billion over the next five years for housing assistance under the 2003 Commonwealth State Housing Agreement.

The Australian Government also provides another $1.9 billion a year in rent assistance to one million Australians for affordable rental housing for low-income families.

Senator Patterson said: “For every $1 of direct Australian Government housing assistance, the States and Territories contribute less than 13 cents in Commonwealth State Housing Agreement matching funds.”

ACOSS called for more funds for rental assistance and support for the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement.

Senator Patterson said: “The States have profiteered through massive hikes in stamp duty revenue. The States must lower their stamp duty rates and release new land for homebuyers.

“Since 1996, the stamp duty on an average home has risen to $16,000 in Sydney and Melbourne.

“A recent Housing Industry Association study shows that in 2002 an estimated $11 billion was levied by state and local governments on new housing. State and local government taxes and charges added $67,000 to the cost of a house.”

Senator Patterson said the Federal Government’s rent assistance made a big difference to low-income earners.

Rent assistance reduces the proportion of customers paying more than 30% of their income in rent from 70% to 35%. Those paying more than 50% of income drops from 28% to 9%.