The Mercury

House prices have pushed us into the top 20 of unaffordable cities in the world. After seven years of boom, the legacy of this government, elected by ordinary working people, will be a city owned by the elites.

It need not be so. House building is a competitive industry, and with proper foresight on trade skills, costs will always tend to rise only in line with wages and the general price index.The real ‘boom’ has been in land price. Speculation in real estate has pushed land beyond the price of Tasmanian wages. Young Tasmanian families are excluded from the market. That demands government action, not with more subsidies and grants that benefit only existing owners, but real tax reform that will overcome the existing market failure.

Associate Professor (Economics) Graeme Wells points the way in his letter, 23 January. He says “There would be significant efficiency gains in moving from the present transactions tax to a flat-rate land tax.” Not only would it be efficient, it would also be equitable.

The Labor government, under pressure on so many fronts, still has the opportunity to create conditions of prosperity for all Tasmanians, and to make home ownership a reality for following generations. Will it rise to the occasion?

Leo Foley
Lenah Valley, Tasmania
Justice the Aim