First home buyers face a kick in the guts: O’Brien

September 12, 2015

ABOLITION or reduction of Victoria’s 50 per cent stamp duty concessions for first home buyers would be a “kick in the guts for young people”, according to shadow treasurer Michael O’Brien.

Mr O’Brien told The Spectator that he believed the Labor State Government intends to scrap the concession, which can deliver savings of up to $15,500 on the tax bill for buying a house.

“We introduced the 50 per cent stamp duty concession as we knew that young people needed a bit of help to get into the housing market,” he said.

“For first home construction we also introduced a $10,000 grant. Both policies make a big difference towards getting a deposit together.

“If (stamp duty concessions) were rolled back or scrapped it would be a kick in the guts for young people.”

The concessions cost Victoria about $170 million a year, which could increase as the price of housing in Melbourne continues to rise.

Details of a potential policy shift by State Treasury were leaked to Fairfax Media this month and Treasurer Tim Pallas responded by saying the Government had “no plans” for change.

Mr O’Brien called for the State Government to go further than its previous statements on the issue and give a guarantee that it would not change the concessions.

When asked by The Spectator to give a guarantee that concessions would not change, Western Victoria Labor MP Gayle Tierney said there were “no plans” to do so.

“Victorians can be assured that support for first homebuyers is not at risk,” she said in a statement.

“The Government has no plans to change arrangements for first home buyers.”

“The Andrews Labor Government is fully aware of the concerns and obstacles facing first home buyers and will continue to take action to ensure they are supported.”

Mr O’Brien said any downward changes to housing incentives would have an impact in regional Victoria.

“The median house price in Hamilton was about $260,000 last time I checked,” he said.

“(Premier) Daniel Andrews wants to double the stamp
duty bill for first home buyers and keep their homes out
of reach.”