Farmers welcome foreign investor land tax reversal

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Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief Peter Skillern.

FARMERS are cheering the State Government’s decision to ditch its plan to introduce a foreign investor land tax surcharge.

The Government on Wednesday announced it would not proceed with its policy on the back of feedback from Tasmania’s peak agricultural body and other stakeholders.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the 2019-20 Budget did not include an estimate of potential revenue from the proposed tax, so there would be no shortfall in Budget estimates.

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The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association said the decision was “strongly welcomed and supported”.

“The Treasurer is to be commended for not only genuinely engaging with stakeholders but listening and acknowledging the issues raised,” TFGA chief Peter Skillern said.

“In many ways, this sets the standard for how Governments should develop policy in a well-informed and thoughtful manner.

“The TFGA is proud to have advocated strongly for this result and the changes surrounding the definition of a ‘foreign person’. It is through the peak farming body in this state that we ensure that agriculture in Tasmania remains competitive and innovative.”

Legislation will be introduced in the current session of Parliament to ensure the definition of a “foreign person” remains consistent with the Government’s original policy intent, Mr Gutwein said.

The rate of the Foreign Investor Duty Surcharge on the purchase of residential property would rise, however, from the 7 per cent announced in the Budget to 8 per cent. That increase will bring Tasmania in line with Victoria and NSW.

The increase in the surcharge on the purchase of primary production land will remain at the same level (1.5 per cent) as announced in the 2019-20 State Budget.

Labor MP Shane Broad said the proposed land tax surcharge would have served as an attack on regional jobs.

“It has taken consistent advocacy from Labor and the farming community to convince the Government to abandon its plans,” Dr Broad said. “Just a few weeks ago in Parliament, the Premier, Will Hodgman, backed the tax to the hilt.”

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