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Stamp duty must be abolished in SA

23 Mar 17

SHOULD we stay or should we go? In 1981, British punk band, The Clash, posed exactly that question. Yes, it might have been about a relationship but the sentiment could apply to many decisions that we face in our everyday lives.

And in 2017, more and more South Australians are joining in the chorus.

The so called ‘brain drain’ to other states is well documented. Official statistics showed that almost 28,000 people moved interstate last year. Even accounting for migration to South Australia, there remained a net loss of almost 6000 people.

The reasons are many – perceptions of a new or better career with better pay, more lifestyle opportunities, the glamour and excitement of a big city – and this is causing the exodus in a big way.

There is no doubt the State Government has worked hard to make SA a great place to work and live. Programs aimed at employment and infrastructure, funding towards innovation and entrepreneurship have all sought to stem the flow from our shores.

However, they have ignored a key factor in making sure that we value South Australia as a vibrant and resilient community.

REISA has long called for the abolition of stamp duty in SA. However, it has faced an uphill battle due to the fact that a common refrain heard from the Government is that South Australians do not face the same housing affordability issues that they do in other States.

This may well be true on the numbers, but if this is the case, why are so many of us, particularly those in their youth, still leaving?

Victoria’s recent decision to cut stamp duty on houses up to $600,000 is clearly another incentive for young South Australians to migrate eastwards. It might not be the key factor that sways a person to leave but it is still a factor.

Living the Australian dream and owning their own piece of land is still a major goal of many South Australians. Stamp duties of tens of thousands of dollars can be nothing but a cog in the wheel of property ownership.

We understand that property revenue is an important source of income for the Government, but stamp duty is an ineffective tax and only serves to highlight the advantages that other states can offer.

And why are we giving the other states another reason to poach our best and fairest?

The bottom line is this. We are not asking for stamp duty to be abolished because we have the problem that the eastern states are having with their affordability crisis. REISA is seeking this as a long term attractor to this state to keep the brightest here.

We should be matching dollar for dollar that competitive advantage that some eastern states have over SA when it comes to first home buyers.

Source: The Advertiser 

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