Friday, February 5, 2016

313,000 people MPs should listen to instead of the Property Council of Australia

This week we saw a not-at-all veiled threat from the Property Council of Australia to Members of Parliament in marginal seats. That threat was very simple: don’t touch negative gearing, or we will do you in the next election.
Pearl from the Property Council wants to get paid.
“That’s enough voters to swing all of these seats eight and half times over, a big political risk to take with people with a lot at stake.”
“Australians already pay $72 billion a year in property taxes – and property owners don’t want government’s hands reaching even deeper into their pockets.”
-Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison
We’d like to provide those MPs with some other people who might easily sway an election, though they’ll win their vote with kindness and good public policy. We've some suggestions on our policy platform for social housing, and affordable housing across NSW and the nation.

(Note - we give no guarantee as to the accuracy of the Property Council's data on votes needed, but the bits we've added have come from the 2011 Census records...)

Social housing tenants- easily more than enough to change these results.

Private Renters- unsurpisingly, many more private renters than negatively geared investors!
In just these 20 seats there are 312,978 people the government could listen to instead of the Property Council of Australia when deciding housing policy. We'd also point to our own affordable housing recommendations and those of National Shelter.

In the media release and subsequent articles we also saw a couple of tired tropes trotted out – first:
"There are 840,000 Australians with taxable incomes below $80,000 a year who are negatively geared."
That may well be true, but it's meaningless. We’ll refer the Council back to this excellent piece from Michael Janda, who examines the claim that it is Australians with taxable incomes below $80,000 a year who mostly benefit from negatively gearing - essentially, they're able to reduce their taxable incomes by claiming a whole bunch of tax deductions, through schemes like negative gearing!

The AFR article also suggests the Property Council will argue negative gearing “keeps a lid on rental costs and house prices” - which is interesting, given that in our 5 year report on the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 we found that rents have risen much faster than landlords' costs (where negative gearing is most likely to have an impact). Perhaps the Council could pass the message along to its constituents that they are supposed to be holding back on rent increases? It appears to have been lost in the mail.

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