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The fragrant vagrant is not a rose by another name

Melbourne City Council is wringing its hands again over developer land vagrancy – prime sites deliberately held vacant or with disused, dangerous buildings to assist developer lobbying of government for rezoning or advantageous building permits. The issue last hit the...

Victoria to cap the single best tax base available

The Andrews government is capping local governments rate rises to CPI after fifteen years of six per cent rises in a low inflation environment. Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins’ Fair Go Rates System, administered by the Essential Services Commission,...

The valuation conundrum – not.

By Bryan Kavanagh and David Collyer   This week’s game-changer, the Property Taxes paper by Grattan Institute has a minor error on land valuation that needs correcting before it becomes a gift to the opponents of reform.   Grattan is acutely aware that on this topic...

Queensland’s Retrospective Theft

  Midnight Wednesday, the Queensland Parliament amended the Local Government Act and the City of Brisbane Act to legalise the theft of around $2.3 billion in differential rates charged by 20 councils on non-resident owners over the last twenty years. The...

Goody Goody Goody!

Sometimes, through the smoke and fireworks of the national debate a political commentator sees the path forward and points the way. Today in the Australian Financial Review, Alan Mitchell takes a far-sighted approach to the crisis provoked by the Abbott government in...

Not the Queensland Budget Speech

. . . … Madam Speaker, if the Government is to balance the Budget in these difficult times, it cannot afford to indulge in forms of taxation that shrink the economy from which all public revenue is drawn. In some allegedly “conservative” circles, it...

What a load of garbage!

Hobsons Bay Council is considering charging residents by the kilogram for garbage removal. While markets have their place, putting a price on rubbish will have many unintended consequences, few of them pleasant. The anti-social will cost-shift, stuffing their garbage...

Big Holes or Money Pits?

Major transport projects costing billions are being proposed for Sydney and Melbourne to shrink these sprawling cities. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s plans to ‘fix’ Parramatta Road by ripping it up and installing the M3 in a cut-and-cover tunnel. The poor state of...

Seller Strike, Buyer Strike

1 May 2012 • ABS House Price Index -4.5% YOY • RBA interest rate cut -0.5% The solid new trend of falling house prices is confirmed by the ABS today with real prices now in retreat for seven quarters and the downward path accelerating. Property markets operate on a...