UnionsACT condemns “greedy” calls by property industry to abolish lease variation charge

UnionsACT has today condemned calls by the Property Council ACT and Master Builders Association ACT to abolish the lease variation charge, labelling the demand “greedy”.

Due to the unique nature of the ACT’s lease-hold system, the lease variation charge is an important, albeit modest, means for rate-payers and the public to ensure that developers make a tax contribution.

UnionsACT rejects the claims of property sector lobby groups such as the Property Council and Master Builders Association that developer levies and charges (such as the lease variation charge) have a significant impact on economic activity, investment decisions or overall affordability.

The following quotes are attributable to Alex White, secretary of UnionsACT:

“The breath-taking greed of the property and construction sector is again on display with calls by the Property Council and Master Builders to abolish the lease variation charge.

“The charge allows the community to recoup some of the increase in value of land that is almost all due to public investment in local infrastructure and improvement works.

“The property industry is one of Canberra’s most profitable industries, yet no amount of profits seems to be enough.

“The property industry is one of the main proponents of a Federal cut to company tax worth $80 billion, yet developers and property owners are demanding even more public largess, this time from the ACT public.

“The lease variation charge is an important source of income for the ACT that funds public works, schools, health care and social services.

 “Property developers already get access to massive tax hand-outs worth tens of millions of dollars from the ACT Government through the LVC remissions scheme, but still they want more.

“The continued calls for more tax hand-outs by this industry is immoral when public and social services are stretched to their limit.”