Land tax changes won’t be paid by renters, says premier

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Premier Daniel Andrews has rejected concerns the state budget targeted everyday Victorians and says he does not accept it will drive up rental prices.

Treasurer Tim Pallas handed down his ninth budget on Tuesday, conceding it was his most difficult yet because of escalating debt brought on by the construction pipeline and COVID-19.

Daniel Andrews mingles with reporters as the state budget is released on Tuesday.Credit: Joe Armao

The government’s decision to expand land tax to homes that are not the owner’s primary residence will affect about 380,000 Victorians, but Andrews said on Wednesday that expense would not trickle down to renters.

“Supply is the issue [causing hight rents], and anybody who’s applying for a rental and finds that they’re one of 25 different applications – 50 even – and you’ve got estate agents and some landlords essentially running an auction for a rental,” he said.

“They can tell you there’s not enough supply, and that’s why we need to make better decisions and make them faster.”

He said Victoria would hand down a comprehensive housing statement in a couple of months.

Land tax is tax deductible, so Andrews encouraged Victorians with a genuine claims to seek the benefit under the federal tax system.

He vehemently denied the suggestion the budget would hurt average Victorians.

“No I don’t accept that. We made a number of commitments at the election last year; each and every one of them has been honoured.”

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