Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas has welcomed the decision today of the Parliament’s Upper House to establish a Parliamentary inquiry into the collection of property taxes, and what are widely considered to be inequities in the current system.
Mr Lucas moved in March for the Legislative Council to establish a Select Committee to inquire into all matters relating to the issue of property taxes by State and Local Government, including sewerage charges by SA Water.
“Whilst there has been a lot of public concern and attention about land tax over the past year, there has also been great concern about council rates, stamp duties, sewerage charges, catchment levies and the Rann Water Tax,” Mr Lucas said today.
“The property boom and consequent property tax windfall for the Rann Government since it took office in March 2002 have given rise to a great number of concerns that require careful examination and investigation.
“Among matters that have been referred to the Select Committee are:
(a) concerns about the current level of property taxes and options for moderating their impact and the impact of any future increases;
(b) concerns about inequities in the land tax collection system, including the impact on investment and the rental market;
(c) concerns about inequities in the current property valuation system, and options to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the valuation process;
(d) consideration of alternative taxation options to taxes based on property valuations; and
(e) concerns about the current level of council rates and options for moderating their impact and the impact of any future increases.
“Mike Rann’s record shows he has broken his key election promise not to increase taxes or charges or introduce new taxes or charges. The Rann Government is now the highest taxing government in South Australia’s history, and property taxes this year (2004-05) are $373m higher than in the last year of the former Liberal Government ($1104m compared to $731m).
“The refusal of Mike Rann and Kevin Foley to use the resources of government to meaningfully address these issues has left us no choice but to go down the road of a Select Committee, because South Australian taxpayers and ratepayers deserve a more equitable taxation system.”