Covid is hurting Victoria again and again Dan Andrews is hurting the very people he claims he is trying to help. Covid saw a mass exodus from Victoria to Queensland mainly due to the singularly aggressive measures used by the Dan Andrew’s government. Now the Andrews government is claiming they want to help renters by flogging investors with new land taxes and that might just see another big migration.
During covid, Victoria adopted measures that no other state-imposed and had people in isolation longer than all the other Australian states. The extra pain was arguably unnecessary and avoidable. The fact that NSW – a bigger state – did not need to persecute people to contain the virus was a bone of contention for many. The Victorian decisions again seem out of step with the rest of the country.
It appears Dan Andrews has decided Victorians should suffer like no other state. The introduced land tax has the capacity to adversely affect Victoria and again many people resent the imposition. Again, Covid is the problem and his reason for the taxes is the virus cost the state billions. Unfortunately, the same heavy-handed response is being adopted with the same arrogance as the covid restrictions. The plan is to tax the people that have the least impact on re-election – which is a standard play by all governments – but the Andrews government has learned being first has its perks.
The world had not seen a virus like covid so governments could not be compared for their management. Now we have a housing problem that has not been experienced and it is not easy to fix. The lessons from covid for the Dan Andrews government were to go hard and not provide a rationale for the decisions. Most importantly appear to care for those that need protection and admonish groups to detract attention from the costs. Again, covid has provided a diversion from the real problem – housing supply – and again punishment is used by dumping the pain on the people Dan Andrews knows people will care less about – investors. A hero to tenants making those greedy investors pay.
Imagine instead, the government doing its job and immediately building the housing that is actually required. How would they sell that? Every suburb will be allocated public housing – imagine how that would go down in Toorak. The cost of the builds will be billions and there will be disruption to all infrastructure for years as the new building begins. Na, let us just demonize investors and signal tax increases from those whom we can get money easily and with no resistance. There is no mention of when EXACTLY the new housing will be built or where.
Again, just like covid, the economic impact of people leaving the state or not investing will be ignored. Rather than fix the housing shortage and the rising cost of rent there will be even fewer properties to rent. Mum and Dad investors will leave, all the businesses those properties owners use and the taxes they generate will leave too.
Like decisions made during covid, the problems emerge later. There was no benefit in locking people up for longer in more restrictive ways than other states and there will be little to no benefit to Victoria imposing land tax on mum and dad investors. If no other state imposes these taxes, then Victoria will be avoided as a place to invest. Only if it works will it be adopted – no one adopted Victoria’s covid plan ever.
Victoria already has the harshest real estate restrictions and there appears to be no advantage for the state. These currently include:
- highest stamp duty;
- the strictest tenancy laws;
- no granny flats that could help the rental shortage and now
- a land tax that kicks in at a land value of $50,000.
It is about time a full rationale is provided for major decisions made by governments, not dictums that people are forced to accept. Further, when imposing taxes governments claim is for a purpose they should state when and where the tax will be used.
Tax is good and we should pay tax knowing it is for our benefit but using tax as a diversion by targeting seemingly unpopular groups is strategic and not for the good of the state.