Applying a $270 levy on West Australian investment properties through water rates would break a Labor election promise not to introduce new taxes, the state opposition says.
The state state government is considering applying the levy to investment properties with a gross rental value of $24,000 or more in an attempt to repair the budget.
But Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said if Labor went ahead with the idea it would be a “broken promise, without doubt”.
“In the election, the (now) premier and the treasurer repeatedly said no new taxes after they made, of course, the commitment to a tax on foreign investment on residential properties,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“This would be a tax on some of the lowest income people in the state … it will be passed on to renters.”
Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the levy was just one proposal put forward and the government was still making decisions about cost recovery and savings measures.
“I’m tyring to come up with a way forward that minimises the impact on the most vulnerable,” he told reporters.
But Mr Wyatt could not say how much money would be raised if the levy was implemented.
He indicated the state budget, to be handed down in September, would have a range of fee and charge increases but they would be announced beforehand because they needed to be implemented by July 1.
It comes after the state government announced on Wednesday it was slashing the $5000 boost to the first-home buyer’s grant six months early, with the grant dropping back to $10,000 after June 30.
One of WA’s largest home builders, Dale Alcock, said on Thursday that Labor had inherited a bad set of books and needed to make adjustments.
“I accept that we’ve all got to pull our weight but we’re not the only industry, and the construction and property market hasn’t been doing it great over the last two to three years,” he told 6PR radio.
Mr Alcock said the mining sector was “still producing pretty good profits” as opposed to the property and construction industry.
He said it all came back to the GST imbalance and WA was being “too civil” about it and people should be “marching in the street”.