Question without Notice: Social and affordable housing levy
Mr HIBBINS (Prahran): My question is for the Treasurer. Treasurer, environmental groups and the car industry opposed the EV tax, but the government went ahead with it anyway. The mining industry did not want the gold royalty, but the government went ahead with it anyway. Big business did not want the mental health levy, but you went ahead with that anyway. The developers and the property industry did not want to pay for a levy to fund new social and affordable housing, so the government scrapped it. Why does the property industry get to pick and choose which taxes they
get to pay?
Mr PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer): I thank the member for Prahran for his question. I am not sure whether he is
advocating that there should be more taxes that the government raises or less taxes, or that perhaps we sho
uld choose our friends more carefully. But let me be very clear: this government makes choices around taxation to ensure that it has a fair and progressive tax system, one that ensures that Victorians get value for money from government but also that Victorians get value for money for the assets that they own, they produce and they regulate. That includes, of course, royalties for gold or brown coal; it also includes whether or not we make decisions to redistribute some of those funds. For example, we gave about $1 billion a year over the last four years to ensure that people got into their first home. Those were judgements that this government made. We also put aside $5.3 billion for the outstanding minister for public housing to get on and deliver housing for those who most desire it. That is why, despite the fact that this government in per capita terms has the lowest revenue per capita of any state in the nation, it is an efficient government that makes efficient choices around the welfare and the wellbeing of Victorians.
That is why as a government we make choices. For example, around electric vehicle usage we ensure that people who use our roads pay for their maintenance so that those roads are safe. But they will still get incentive payments of up to $3000 from the government if they purchase one—again, a choice that we have made out of our consolidated revenue—and they will also get, of course, the opportunity to save up to $2600 a year on average, compared to the cost of what they would have to otherwise pay to put petrol into their car, and they will avoid paying the federal fuel excise. The government makes choices. We make those choices in the interests of and for the wellbeing of all Victorians, recognising that there are many in this state who need support and assistance. Now, I understand that there will be many in the property industry who from time to time will complain about the fact that they actually have to pay to ensure that Victorians get the support and the services and the infrastructure that they deserve, but this government will make no apology for ensuring that
they pay their fair share and that the taxes that we put in place provide for those in Victoria who need the greatest support and assistance.
Mr HIBBINS: On a supplementary question, the levy was expected to fund 1700 new social and affordable homes each year after the Big Housing Build finishes. Now that the government has abandoned the levy, what is the government’s plan to fund more social and affordable housing once the big build concludes?
Mr PALLAS : Well, I just make the point to the member for Prahran that it is in fact Labor’s big build. It is in fact $5.3 billion worth of investment over 10 years, so I do not think there is any shortage of activity that will be going on. And, yes, it is the case that there will be massive efforts, massive work and massive investment going on under the guardianship of the Minister for Housing, but the economic activity essentially that will stem from this investment will serve Victoria well into the future. The building and construction industry will be of course the principal beneficiary of it in terms of direct jobs. There is no shortage of effort. It is the biggest investment in public housing in this nation’s history, so I do not think it can be demeaned by those opposite.