Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said Budget 2022 was ‘a missed opportunity’ to tackle systemic issues in the housing market and confront the rental crisis head on.
“Government have bottled the opportunity to have a vision for our housing system that puts affordability for people front and centre,” Senator Moynihan said.
“From the measures announced today, it’s clear that there is no sense of urgency to tackling the crisis.
“All measures announced are caveated with a long lead in time despite the fact that first time buyers are competing with investment funds, renters are paying above and beyond for a roof over their heads and students are sleeping on couches.
“The zoned land tax announced is lower than the vacant site tax it’s replacing.
“While it’s welcome that Revenue have been tasked with collecting it, the drop from 7% in the vacant site tax to 3% in the zoned land tax and long lead in time renders it toothless.
“The Minister needs to urgently review the vacant site tax’s operation and exemptions – 7% was already too low.
“Our Alternative Budget called for an increase to 10%. Reducing taxes will only encourage further speculation on land.”
Senator Moynihan also questioned why the government have not introduced a vacant homes tax.
“We’ve long called for a vacant home tax for the many residential homes lying empty which has failed to materialise in this budget,” she said.
“A strong vacant homes tax would actually be able to bring former homes, including permanently empty apartments and derelict houses, back to use.
“By introducing this and improving CPO powers and funding for local authorities to repurpose empty homes, government could get more houses into supply.
“Instead it’s a case of nothing to see here, move along.
“Renters remain relegated to second class citizens. Nothing will be done to tackle unaffordable rents. Too many people are struggling to pay high rents, or simply can’t find an affordable place to live. There are tax breaks for landlords in the budget but nothing for renters.
“It’s particularly telling that there has been no change to the HAP limit despite the record rents throughout the country. There’s no attempt to make things better or to redress the power imbalance in the rental market.
“Budget 2022 could have been an opportunity to tackle the housing crisis and provide fair change for every person struggling. Instead, they’ve bottled it on tackling the vested interests in the housing market, the land speculators and the institutional investors who are keeping homes empty to keep rents high.”