Property Tax (First Home Buyer Choice) Bill 2022

Clayton Barr - Bills - Second Reading Debate

How do we define “business” in 2022? If you are a first home buyer, your occupation is web designer and you work in the front office or at the kitchen table or at the breakfast bar, does that mean you are conducting a business from the property? Do we now get into the crazy, weedy, nitty-gritty, detailed part where we say that person cannot apply because they are going to do their work from home? What if you are an influencer? I do not really know what that is, but my kids keep telling me it is something. What if you do that from home? That might be a business. What if you are a hairdresser? Or, in the current climate, what if you just work from home? Does that mean that it is a business or that you are conducting business in that property? I urge the Treasurer to clarify that for me because I like to get into the weeds and the detail of some pieces of legislation, particularly important ones like this.

I had the opportunity to use the calculator and go through a couple of examples of properties that were for sale in the electorate that I have the great privilege to represent. I note from the outset that by and large across most of the suburbs in the wonderful State electorate of Cessnock, the annual property tax would be in the vicinity of $1,000 to $1,200. There are some outliers, and I will speak to them. At Allandale, it is not $1,000, it is a starting point of $6,520, compounding 4 per cent each year for 30 years. At Buchanan it is $2,900. At Elrington it is $1,600. At Greta Main and Kitchener it is $1,500. At Mulbring it is $1,465. At Nulkaba it is $1,660. At Rothbury it is $7,320. At Barnsley, Cameron Park, Edgeworth and Holmesville it is $1,200. Most suburbs are around $1,000 to $1,200, but there are some outliers.

I want to mention a couple of case studies, because I wondered how the homework the Premier set me for Fairfield applies to some of the suburbs that I have the great privilege to represent. I did one case study at Edgeworth. I went online and found a house that was selling for $770,000. I typed in what that would cost in stamp duty, and it was $24,872. I then typed in what it would cost in property tax. In the first year it would be $1,444. Fast-forward 30 years and in the thirtieth year a home buyer would be paying $4,683. If a home buyer could not afford stamp duty of $25,000 up-front, meaning they did not have a choice, what would they pay over 30 years? Well, they would have the chance to pay Premier Perrottet and his team $80,986.

Ms Anna Watson: How much?

Mr CLAYTON BARR: They would pay $80,986. That is more than three times the original stamp duty. I wondered whether a wealthy family who has the capacity to pay would recommend that their child take the up‑front stamp duty or pay the long-term, pay-every-year forever tax? [Extension of time]

I was going to wrap up, but the member for Oxley has just entered the Chamber. I know she loves listening to my detailed interrogation of pieces of legislation, so I will drag it out just a little bit longer. I will mention some other suburbs because I want people in the Cessnock electorate to understand exactly what is being proposed in the bill. I had a look at Heddon Greta, which is a growing suburb and a brand new subdivision.

Mrs Melinda Pavey: I love Greta.

Mr CLAYTON BARR: You love Heddon Greta?

Mrs Melinda Pavey: I love Greta.

Mr CLAYTON BARR: No. Not Greta, Heddon Greta. It had a drive-in theatre, which has gone now—bloody development! Someone buying a house at Heddon Greta for $830,000 would pay $32,440 in stamp duty up-front. If they took the property tax option they would pay $1,090 but it blows out to $3,500 in 30 years. In total, a home buyer would pay $61,000. That is double the stamp duty. Again, I ask whether someone who is wealthy enough to pay the stamp duty up-front to give their child or someone in their family choice would say, “I can help you out up-front with the original 30 or 40 grand,” or would they say, “Instead of me giving you that money, why don’t you go ahead and pay $130,000 over the next 30 years?” It just does not make sense.

I was about to finish but the member for Oxley insisted I continue. Before I finish, I want to talk about my colleague next door, the National Party member for Upper Hunter, and some of the villages in his area. Fern Gully has annual property taxes that will start at $2,000. At Gowrie they will start at $4,000. At Obanvale they will start at $5,340. Sadly, and unfortunately, the member for Upper Hunter is not in the Chamber to participate in the debate. By his absence, and soon we will see by his vote—

Mrs Melinda Pavey: Point of order: That is an outrageous claim against the member for Upper Hunter.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

Mrs Melinda Pavey: The member was insinuating that because the member for Upper Hunter is not here to listen to his special words, that he is missing. It is outrageous.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no point of order. The member for Oxley will resume her seat. The member for Cessnock has the call.

Mr CLAYTON BARR: That was a passionate defence by the member for Oxley. I cannot quite understand it because they are simple statements of fact. Is the member for Upper Hunter in the room? No. Has the member for Upper Hunter made a contribution? No. Will the member for Upper Hunter support this piece of legislation? I suspect so, unless he is going to cross the floor. He is endorsing these annual property taxes, some of which are really quite steep. For example, the tax for a property in Obanvale would start at $5,340. The starting point is basically $100 a week. If a home buyer took out a loan to buy a property there, in 30 years the end amount would be close to $400 per week out of their pay.

Ms Eleni Petinos: Oh, come on!

Mr CLAYTON BARR: I do not know why members opposite are protesting. These are simple statements of fact. I am sorry if the truth and the facts somehow get in the way of their ideology, but they cannot be denied because it is mathematics. Members opposite do not like hearing the truth. I urge them to save themselves. They should not let the bill go through and lose their careers in Parliament, because they might be able to make a significant contribution as a backbencher in opposition after March 2023. The Opposition opposes the bill.