Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Former Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Aboriginal Affairs; Lands

    Liberal and Nationals parties distort facts to justify protecting foreign home buyers over WA families

    17/08/2018 2:35 PM
     
    • Foreign buyers make up a very small portion of the total housing market
    • There is no evidence that the introduction of surcharges in other States has had a material impact on foreign investment 

    This week, the McGowan Government introduced to State Parliament its election commitment to levy a surcharge on foreign home buyers. Every other Australian State, as well as a number of other countries, already has a similar surcharge in place.

     

    Unfortunately, in an effort to protect foreign home buyers, the Liberal and Nationals parties have sought to exaggerate the potential impacts of the surcharge on the local housing market.

     

    The fact is that foreign buyers make up a very small portion of the total housing market - about 1.26 per cent in 2016-17.  Another fact is that not all foreign buyers would be subject to the surcharge - foreigners acquiring land on which to undertake residential development of 10 or more dwellings will be exempt from the surcharge.

     

    It is also true that of those foreign buyers who are subject to the tax, the vast majority are still expected to purchase a house. This is because other factors such as capital growth prospects and exchange rates are far more important considerations for foreign purchasers than a one-off surcharge.

     

    This is all backed up by experience - there is no evidence that the introduction of surcharges in other States has had a material impact on foreign investment.

     

    It is therefore of great disappointment that after leaving the State with a record $40 billion of debt, the Liberal and Nationals parties are now trying to block a measure that would require foreign property buyers to help pay down that debt. In doing so, the Liberal and Nationals parties are shifting more of the burden of repaying its debt onto WA families.

     

    Comments attributed to Finance Minister Ben Wyatt:

     

    "If it wasn't enough that the Liberal and Nationals parties have left the people of Western Australia with $40 billion of debt, they now appear hell bent on ensuring that WA families continue to carry the burden.

     

    "I remain optimistic that other parties in the Parliament will take a more constructive approach and help deliver a reform that stands up for WA families and helps ease their burden.

     

    "If not, the McGowan Government looks forward to taking this issue to the next State election."

     

    Minister's office - 6552 5900