Federal election 2019: Which parties have property policies?
tax-and-legal-advice
1 minute read

Federal election 2019: Which parties have property policies?

Federal election 2019: Which parties have property policies?

by Sasha Karen | May 17, 2019 | 1 minute read

With the next federal election right around the corner, it can be difficult to know which parties hold what particular policies. That’s why Smart Property Investment has identified which parties hold property-related policies, and what those policies are.

Parliament house
May 17, 2019

Going into an election being as informed as possible is the only way to make a vote really count, but with so many parties, knowing where their policies lie can be a difficult task.

Therefore, the following parties have identified their perspective on property and topics relating to property that investors may want to keep in mind when they enter the polling booth.

The political parties that hold property-related policies in the upcoming federal 2019 election, listed alphabetically, are:

Affordable Housing Party

The Affordable Housing Party’s policies focus on making housing more affordable. To this end, the Affordable Housing Party believes in:

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  • Removing negative gearing on investment properties, as the party claims that “what negative gearing really does is give investors a reason to outbid first home buyers at auction, because you can’t negatively gear your home”
  • Removing capital gains discount on housing sales
  • Restricting overseas buyers and temporary visa holders from buying Australian property
  • Taxing properties left deliberately untenanted in order to encourage renting out or selling the property, with minimum owner occupancy periods to accommodate holiday home owners
  • Banning or taxing properties that are put on short-term holiday letting services like Airbnb
  • Increasing funding at the federal level or public, social and affordable housing
  • Giving tenants rights that are equal on a national level
  • Ending no-fault evictions
  • Preventing superannuation being used to invest in residential property
  • A contingency plan if a significant correction in housing prices occurs that excludes banks and property investors

 

Australia First Party

While the Australia First Party holds no policies directly related to property or investment, the party believes in the control of foreign ownership, which would “bring foreign ownership and investment back under control”, which can relate to investing in residential property.

 

Australian Better Families

The Australian Better Families party does not have any policies that directly impact Australian property investors, but their stance on foreign ownership would see residential housing, alongside infrastructure, assets, critical businesses and farm land, restricted from foreign ownership in order “to ensure our national security and sovereignty is protected for future generations”.

 

Australian Christians

Housing affordability and home ownership for all Australians is a priority for the Australian Christians party, in particular, younger Australians who might have “little hope” about home ownership.

To go about this, the party would look at land affordability and prioritise policies that look at providing affordable land supply needed for new housing.

 

Australian Conservatives

The Australian Conservatives party has only one line relating to property: they believe negative gearing should be continued as it currently stands.

 

Australian Labor Party

The Labor Party has pushed hard on its negative gearing and capital gains tax reforms throughout this election period.

As a brief reminder, Labor’s negative gearing and capital gains tax reforms are:

Negative gearing

  • Only new properties will be able to be negative geared
  • All investments made before 1 January 2020 will not be affected by the changes to negative gearing and will be fully grandfathered
  • Losses from investments will continue to be able to be offset against investment gains in the same financial year, regardless of asset class
  • Within a year, losses can still be carried forward and offset against future capital gains on the investment

Capital gains tax discount

  • CGT will be halved for assets purchased after 1 January 2020, reducing CGT for assets purchased after 1 January 2020 from 50 per cent to 25 per cent
  • All investments made before 1 January 2020 will not be affected by the changes to CGT and will be fully grandfathered
  • The existing CGT discount that applies to superannuation funds will not be affected
  • The 50 per cent active asset reduction concession that applies to small businesses will not be affected

Additionally, Labor has also promised to match the Coalition government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which would allow individuals earning up to $125,000 annually or couples with up to $200,000 access to a 5 per cent deposit that waives lenders’ mortgage insurance.

Periphery to property-related properties, the Labor government also has a number of infrastructure and job-related policies, including improving hospitals, schools, more jobs relating to railway manufacturing, and the protection of local workers.

 

Australian People’s Party

The Australian People’s Party has a varied list of policy changes for addressing housing affordability, which include:

  • Reducing capital gains tax discount from 50 per cent to 25 per cent, and only made available for assets held for at least two years
  • Allowing negative gearing for only one property and removing deductions for interest on negatively geared properties after the first
  • Removing stamp duty nationwide
  • Taxing investment properties that are vacant and held by overseas investors by 15 per cent
  • Increasing housing availability in regional areas
  • Providing tax incentives to build property in regional centres
  • Removing first home owners grants, which the party claims raises property prices

The party also has a number of policies to review the immigration process, which could reduce potential tenants with policies such as removing temporary skilled shortage visas and forcing skilled migrants on short-term contracts to leave after their intended project is completed.

However, they would provide visas for migrants to live in regional centres for five years, which could increase demand in regional areas.

 

Australian Progressives

The Australian Progressives party would attempt to see housing removed somewhat from investors, with policy points such as “transition housing out of speculative[sic] investment sector”, the phasing out of negative gearing, capping the deductions for current arrangements and removing capital gains tax exemptions.

On the latter policy point, the party considers capital gains tax a “contentious area” in taxation policy.

“We hold that there should no longer be an across-the-board CGT exemption for everything and everyone,” the party’s website states.

“Rather, we hold that a targeted approach (and likely means tested for retirees and low-incomes earners) to CGT discounts would help refocus investment choices made by individuals and corporations.

“We especially consider that reorienting tax policy to help support our regional growth policies will go a very long way to sustain investment in regional Australia for many years to come.”

They also plan to crack down on foreign investors and to apply anti-money laundering measures to property.

 

Australian Workers Party

The Australian Workers Party’s housing-related policies target investors who leave investment properties vacant, which are “reducing their contribution to society as a whole”.

“We believe that those who purchase property and deliberately leave it vacant should be affected by way of having their tax minimisation strategies reduced on a relative pro rata basis,” the Australian Workers Party’s website reads.

“So called ‘mum and dad investors’ do not leave their investment properties vacant as they simply cannot afford to.

“A vacancy levy, relative to the amount of tax minimisation claimed, directly affects only the wealthiest investors and discourages investment strategies that negatively impact on the rest of us.”

This vacancy levy would be based on how long the property is left vacant for:

  • Properties left vacant for 60 to 180 days would see a levy of 50 per cent of all deductions claimed on that property during the financial year, or $2,500, whichever is greater
  • Properties left vacant for 181 days or more would see a levy of 100 per cent of all deductions claimed on that property during the financial year, or $5,000, whichever is greater

They would be deducted by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) before tax refunds are given to the owner of the property, would be due to the ATO within 90 days, deductions would not be allowed to be claimed if vacancy levies are unpaid by the due date.

Owners that incur the vacancy levy three times or more for a single property will then lose the ability to claim capital loss or capital gains tax discounts for that property.

The exception to this would be undergoing necessary renovations to repair damage by a natural disaster.

The vacancy levies would apply to investors for five years from the point of their implementations. After the five years, the following policies would then apply:

  • Properties can only receive negative gearing deductions on tenanted residential properties.
  • Residential investments can only be vacant for 10 per cent of the year to be a tenanted investment.
  • Properties untenanted for over 36 days lose the ability to negatively gear that property.
  • Owners that incur the vacancy levy three times or more for a single property will lose the ability to claim capital loss or capital gains tax discounts for that property.
  • The exception to this would be undergoing necessary renovations to repair damage by a natural disaster.

The proceeds of the vacancy levy would go towards emergency and long-term affordable housing projects, as well as regional area community development projects.

Additionally, overseas investors would be banned from purchasing Australian property for investment purposes, and existing investors would have to “dispose” of their investment within 12 months.

 

Centre Alliance

The Centre Alliance party, formally known as the Nick Xenophon Team, is focused mainly on supporting South Australia, but has its own housing affordability policies.

Examples of policies that would impact housing affordability include the introduction of a housing affordability task force to examine the current situation and suggest ways to remove taxes and new ways to build property, make sure Australians are not priced out of the housing market by foreign investors and to change negative gearing in order to create new affordable housing supply.

 

Christian Democratic Party

The Christian Democratic Party places the current housing affordability crisis in the hands of private developers, with the remedy being a return to government housing with a focus on building rather than renting. In order to do so, the party believes in a review of government charges on land developments.

 

Citizens Electoral Council

While the Citizens Electoral Council has no policies that directly relate to investors or the property market, the party does have policies related to infrastructure, looking at large projects that they believe will “open up all of Australia to economic development and population”, which would see Australia’s rail network being upgraded, the construction of 18 different water-related projects and the implementation of nuclear power.

The Citizens Electoral Council would also see economic development projects in regional Australia to spread immigration intake around the country.

These two policy points would likely see property growth rising in areas close to the infrastructure projects and regional areas.

 

Democratic Labour Party

The Democractic Labour Party believes that every Australian is entitled to housing, and as such has both a National Public Housing Scheme and a National Housing Affordability Scheme.

The National Public Housing Scheme, which came about as a means of meeting the demand of rising homelessness, would see all public housing brought under permanent control of the federal government and establish national low income rates at 25 per cent of earnings and 15 per cent for those with a disability.

Further, public housing will not be allowed to be sold off in the future. But in compulsory acquisitions, property needs to be replaced in the same area on a “like-for-like basis” and would be administered by government departments.

Meanwhile, the National Housing Affordability Scheme would see Australian citizens and permanent residents allowed to purchase land, while overseas investors would be barred and have 10 years to sell their properties.

First home buyers would also be allowed to access superannuation funds up to 5 per cent of the total value of the home they intend to purchase.

Negative gearing under the Democratic Labour Party would operate on a sliding scale.

This would see the first investment property being allowed to negatively gear in full, then the second would see the tax benefits reduced by 10 per cent, followed by 25 per cent on the third, 50 per cent on the fourth, 75 per cent on the fifth and then six properties and over would be illegible for tax benefits.

Ownership of Australian land by overseas residents without permanent residency would be allowed to own a maximum of two hectares of Australian land, which cannot be residential land.

 

Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party

The Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party has two policy points relating to property:

  • Private property is an inviolable natural right.
  • Universal home ownership is a national objective.

Meanwhile, the Party also has policies relating to immigration, which would see Australia as "an English speaking, predominantly European Christian Commonwealth", with an immigration program that gives preferential treatment to "those best able to integrate and assimilate".

 

Jacqui Lambie Network

The Jacqui Lambie Network has two policies specific to Tasmania and one that can be considered more broadly.

The first of the two former policies would see Tasmania’s social housing debt owed to the Commonwealth wiped, as she claims half of the state’s public housing budget is spent on interest payments to the Commonwealth.

“Tasmania’s housing money should be spent on housing Tasmanians,” the party’s website reads.

The other two policies would see the energy efficiency of affordable housing in Tasmania being upgraded, and trail an extra tax on foreign residential investments, which would be funnelled back into affordable housing projects.

 

Katter’s Australian Party

The North Queensland-focused Katter’s Australia Party has no property-related policies but has a number of infrastructure policies, which include:

  • Providing more usage charges and access arrangements to encourage more usage of the Townsville to Mt Isa rail line
  • Government funding for the Galilee rail line
  • The upgrading of key cattle roads in the Gulf and Cape York
  • The establishment of multipurpose facilities for cattle yards
  • Rodeo grounds throughout the Cape and Gulf regions and the sealing of the Hann Highway for freight transportation.

 

Liberal Party of Australia

The most direct property-related policy the Liberal Party holds is the recently announced First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which would allow individuals earning up to $125,000 annually or couples with up to $200,000 access to a 5 per cent deposit that waives lenders’ mortgage insurance. This policy point was then picked up by the Labor Party with the guarantee of matching it.

The Liberal government is also claiming to back property owners, renters and investors through a number of points, which include:

  • No new property taxes
  • Improving and increasing housing supply
  • Improving housing supply in conjunction with local councils through the National Housing Infrastructure Facility
  • Establishing an affordable housing bond aggregator
  • Releasing more land for housing development
  • Ensuring foreign investors pay the taxes they owe

Other periphery property-related policies from the Liberal Party include an investment $100 billion into infrastructure and busting congestion, which was detailed in last month’s federal budget.

 

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats would like to see a number of taxes, one of which includes stamp duty on property transfers replaced with “less inefficient taxes”.

Additionally, citizenship would see more barriers in order to maintain high levels of immigration “without the risk that new immigrants will undermine our democracy or social harmony”, according to the party’s website, as well as adopting a “liberal approach” to temporary residency for workers and tourists, which would impact long-term and short-term rentals.

 

Love Australia or Leave

Tackling homelessness is a key policy point for the Love Australia or Leave party. Its major property-related policies involve the Tiny Homes Project, plans to cut public housing waiting lists and providing gated communities for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The Tiny Homes Project would see property built for Australians over the age of 50 for rent only, not for purchase, with vacant blocks for power and amenities like a toilet and a shower for those who wish to live in caravans.

“Tiny Homes would create an environment that would create jobs for over 50s, giving elderly some extra spending money and self-worth,” the party’s policy reads.

Meanwhile, in order to cut public housing waiting lists, the Love Australia or Leave party would plan to increase construction of public housing from 3,000 to 500,000 dwellings a year, with waiting lists being cut to six months from 10 to 20 years.

The party will also allow rent or buy options for tenants in public housing, allow for superannuation to be used as a means of making a deposit for first home buyers instead of an upfront four-week rental bond, allow for tenants to pay more to cover the bond throughout the tenancy.

 

National Party

Aside from being a part of the Coalition government, the National Party has an additional property-related policy of asking for better access to affordable regional housing and helping first home buyers save for their first home.

 

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

One Nation has one main policy that could impact property: the opposition of full foreign ownership of Australian land and assets.

“Foreign ownership of established housing must be investigated, with illegally purchased properties seized,” the party’s website reads.

The party's immigration policies believe in building up regional centres and moving more migrants to these locations, a Travel Ban of countries to Australia "that are known sources of radicalism", the reduction of permanent immigration numbers and promoting population growth through Australian citizens having more children.

 

Pirate Party

The Pirate Party’s stance on housing would see insurance rates, existing land taxes, stamp duty on houses as well as cars, payroll taxes and gambling taxes all abolished and instead replaced with a per-square metre land tax based on unimproved land value for all uses of land, which the party claims “encourages better use of land”.

Additionally, they would see a per-metre tax-free threshold to exclude land of low value, enable “competitive federalism” and tax builds, stop tax liability applying to land in its natural state and to defer tax payments by income-poor taxpayers until land is sold or ownership is transferred.

 

Reason Australia

The Reason Australia party has three points of policy relating to property: they intend to remove tax barriers on build-to-rent and rent-to-buy schemes, the modification of negative gearing benefits to ensure greater investment in new affordable housing stock, and to make sure Australians are not priced out of the housing market by foreign investors.

 

Rise Up Australia Party

The Rise Up Australia Party intends to remove all current taxes (with the exception of import taxes, some export taxes and tariffs), which would no doubt affect property purchases.

They also plan to eliminate homelessness and deficiencies in aged care through policies that would also impact investors, such as making low-cost housing more affordable through the release of residential land, among other policies.

 

Science Party

The Science Party holds policies on housing and taxation related to property.

Under its housing policies, the party intends to improve housing affordability through a number of policy points to open up more land through increasing density and deregulation. The points of this policy include:

  • The loosening of height and density restrictions
  • Increasing land releases to increase density
  • Increase density in previously undeveloped areas
  • Decreasing non-safety related regulation to allow for a variety of housing
  • Decreasing regulation to allow for office, retail and residential space to be close to each other

Meanwhile, the party’s housing taxation related policies include:

  • The removal of capital gains tax for properties held for more than a year
  • Indexing capital gains to CPI
  • Taxing capital gains equally between owner-occupied and investor-held property
  • Replace stamp duty and council rates, as well as payroll tax, with a nationwide land tax 

 

Seniors United Party of Australia

Listed as a core policy of the Seniors United Party of Australia, the property-related policies of the party include advocating for a national model legislation, national ombudsman and national inquiry into other residential establishments for retirement villages as well as for more social and community housing, especially for “mature single women”, in order to make sure seniors have access to housing supply and the cutting down of waiting lists.

Additionally, the party does not support the notion of a “big Australia” and wants to fix the current immigration system through:

  • The establishment of a national commission of inquiry into Australia’s future population
  • An immediate reduction of immigration intake down to 2004-05 levels of 120,000 immigrants per annum
  • A reduction of skilled migrants to preference Australians to take jobs
  • And to empower states by allowing them to dictate the level of skilled migrants they take in

 

Socialist Alliance

The Socialist Alliance has an extensive policy list on housing, which, in summary, includes:

  • Removing negative gearing and capital gains tax
  • Capping rent to 20 per cent of income
  • Forcing private developers to leave 30 per cent of housing for low-rent tenants
  • Giving tenants more powers, which include the right to long-term leases
  • Extending rent assistance to low-income home buyers for mortgage assistance and to Austudy payment recipients
  • The construction and maintenance of state and federal government-owned public housing especially for those considered working class and prioritise the most disadvantaged first
  • Additional infrastructure to support said housing
  • Funding programs to support homeless people
  • Placing overseas workers on the same award as Australian workers

 

Socialist Equality Party

While it is not listed as a policy per se, the Socialist Equality Party lists one of their revolutionary strategy and transitional demands as “decent housing and the cancellation of home repossessions and evictions”, along with universal employment and adjustment of wages with inflation, among other demands.

Further, under the party’s 2019 election statement, the SEP calls for wealth to be redistributed, which included the right to affordable housing.

 

Sustainable Australia

Among many policies, Sustainable Australia has two policies that could shape portfolios: tax reform for housing and changing planning and development.

Under tax reform, Sustainable Australia is focusing on ending capital gains tax and negative gearing concessions, stopping foreign purchases of properties, improving bank lending practices and giving renters more rights.

The party’s planning and development-related policies include giving more powers to local communities about planning decisions and increasing developer charges for land value gains.

 

The Greens

The Greens’ housing-related policies are targeted towards housing affordability for all Australians. To do this, the party advocates for the construction of 500,000 rent-controlled public and community houses, giving more rights to tenants and providing access to tenancy advocacy services through $30 million in funding, the phasing out of property-related taxation including reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax and increasing funding for temporary accommodation services.

The additional rights The Greens would pass on to tenants include the ending of no-grounds evictions, regulating the amount and frequency of rent rises, banning the act of rental auction, enforcing energy efficiency and environmental sustainability standards for rental properties, ensuring safety standards, allowing for tenants to make minor modifications to properties, banning blanket pet bans, and making sure victims of domestic violence are protected in all states and territories.

Meanwhile, the taxation changes the party would propose to change include reducing capital gains tax by 10 per cent per year for five years, removing negative gearing for investors with two or more properties over five years (investors with one property will be exempt), banning negative gearing for all future investments and giving additional finance to states and territories that decide to move from stamp duty to a broad land tax.

 

The Together Party

The Together Party would introduce a new land tax paid by everyone who owns land to replace stamp duty, which according to the party, along with a reduction in the discount for capital gains taxes, would collect billions of dollars to go towards an affordable public housing scheme and add more lower and middle-income housing.

Establishing a housing strategy and fund is another key property-related policy of The Together Party, as its policy states federal and state governments should return to active community development and work alongside local councils, communities and developers to better address both public and private housing.

Additionally, they also believe superannuation funds should be incentivising investment in lower and middle-income housing.

The party also is open to public discussion on policy points, with their website providing a forum for people to discuss a number of policy questions, one of which being on the potential foreign influence on housing.

 

Victorian Socialists

Despite having Victoria in their name, the Victorian Socialists party has federally targeted policies. The most relevant policies for property investors fall under its housing for all policy, which would see a large-scale expansion in public housing, and the capping of rents and mortgage repayments at 20 per cent of income.

 

Western Australia Party

The Western Australia Party has its primary focus on supporting Western Australia. Out of its policies, two directly relate to property investment: leaving negative gearing as is and protecting Western Australian retirees’ retirement plans from changes to superannuation, insurance, property investments and family trusts.

The party would also see an increase of federal funding for infrastructure in Western Australia and the removal of fringe benefits tax in regional Western Australia, which the party claims is “killing off our regional towns”.

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