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Stamp duty reform overdue

State and territory governments must reform stamp duty if housing affordability is to be addressed.

Stamp duty has long been identified as the most inefficient of all state taxes.

Stamp duty represents additional costs to property transactions, thereby discouraging housing turnover and distorting choices between renting and buying and between moving house and renovating.
Each state and territory government would address the issue with their respective Cabinets before the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meets in December, when tax reform will be on the agenda.

Established in 1992, the COAG aims to coordinate activity between the federal government and the six state and two territory governments.

Discussion is promising but action is required as a reform of stamp duty would increase GDP outcomes and productivity and greatly improve housing affordability.

The Henry Tax Review recommended that stamp duty be prioritised in any tax reform agenda I would like to see all governments address the matter in a concerted and coordinated way.

While stamp duty falls under state and territory jurisdiction, leadership is required from the federal government. We need a mature discussion at COAG to capitalise on the initiative being shown by state and territory treasurers.