Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (18:08): My adjournment matter is for the Treasurer. The action I am seeking may not be popular. I am asking that he forgo some land tax. As chair of the homelessness inquiry, I was really privileged to hear so many community organisations talk about initiatives for solving homelessness. As we know, even with the big build and with everything we see, it is only a drop in the ocean of what we need. We are going to take decades to meet that need.
One of the initiatives that we heard about, and I am sure many of you in this chamber have heard about, was Housing All Australians. This is by a man called Robert Pradolin. He has been working with developers who have empty buildings that are going through significant planning processes and so are going to remain empty for many years. He then talks to the owners of those buildings and gets them to hand them over while he then retrofits those buildings for transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness. He then gets groups like the YWCA or the Salvos in to provide the wraparound services that those people need. It is extremely successful. We have seen a beautiful development in South Melbourne doing this, and I recently went to a new development called Garden House. We have got a great developer called the Pask Group, who have a building in East Melbourne, and they are willing to do the same. When they do this we have tradies, we have students, we have retail outlets and we have hotels all donating everything we need to make these places just beautiful.
I saw Garden House, and I can only imagine how it felt for a woman who had escaped violence, had been living in a violent situation and had been forced into homelessness to open the door to this beautiful room that was just for her, that was safe and that had all the services. So the action that I am seeking from the Treasurer is to look at how he may be able to forgo the land tax on buildings that are leased to charities for peppercorn rent to provide transitional accommodation for community purposes. This land tax holiday would only be while that building was being used for transitional housing, but I think this would give some of those developers the nudge they need to use those buildings for transitional housing while they go through the process of many years that it will take them to develop that land.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Adjournment matter 17/11/21
I thank Ms Patten, Member for the Northern Metropolitan region, for her question and the work undertaken by the Legal and Social Issues Committee as part of its Inquiry into Homelessness.
The land tax framework provides for several exemptions and concessions from land tax. Relevantly, an exemption exists for land that is used and occupied by a charitable institution (charity) exclusively for charitable purposes. It is not necessary for the charity to own the land.
The focus is on the use and occupation of the land in the year preceding the tax year (i.e. the exempt status of land for the 2022 land tax year is based on use and occupation as at 31 December 2021). If only part of the land is used and occupied exclusively for charitable purposes, only that portion is exempt.
In relation to the scenario raised, if privately owned land is leased to a charity that is established for the provision of transitional housing and related services, the land will generally be exempt where it is used and occupied in connection with those purposes. A range of factors will be considered by the Commissioner, including whether the charity provides care and support services to residents and otherwise maintains control and possession of the premises.
More information in relation to this exemption (and others) is available on the State Revenue Office website or by calling 13 21 61.
TIM PALLAS MP