4 May 2021 CBR Times Letter to the Editor

No Surprises in Housing

It’s obvious the very valid concerns Anglicare and the ACT Council of Social Service have about the provision of affordable rental housing continue to fall on deaf ears.

Its no accident affordable housing has disappeared from the ACT. The eradication of affordable housing has been a notable outcome of ACT Government’s Planning and Taxation Policy for at least the last 15 years.

Successive changes to planning policy have made small affordable, accessible townhouses in the suburbs illegal, whilst rabid increases in property related taxes have ensure the only affordable dwellings within a “cooee” are in Yass and Cooma.

You cannot make private rental harder to by and more expensive to own and run without increasing costs to tenants. A rental vacancy rate that has for years consistently been below one percent is evidence of failed supply. There just aren’t enough entry level rental properties.

One of the culprits is excessive land tax. Why should any provider of rental housing pay land tax anyway? It just gets passed to the tenant as increased rent. Another is the heavily leveraged lease variation charge, levied at the same excessive minimum of $30,000 per property, regardless of size.

As government investment in social housing continues its real-world free fall, the ACT rental market will rely more and more on private investment. This has been planned and taxed out of business. How about a planning and taxation system redesign to incentivise investment in affordable housing?

David Shearer, Braddon
Letter to the Editor, published 4 May 2021