COMMENT: Land tax vs stamp duty, have your say

ARE we meant to be excited that the state government is getting rid of stamp duty?

Surely it sounds good when we hear that NSW is going to lead the way and transition this state from an old system to something new and modern with a new and different name.

But perhaps this is an instance where the devil is in the detail.

As primary producers, do we really want to be taxed at .3 per cent of unimproved land value?

In the agricultural sector, we are good at talking up the positives.

We are experiencing record cattle prices, some decent prime lamb returns and what appears to be a cracking season.

The headers are going flat out in the region and hopefully, this is the crop that will make up for some of the dismal ones due to droughts in past years.

But the fact that we have had good times of late, and record property sales, does that mean our primary producers deserve to be slapped with yet another ongoing charge?

As it is farmers pay levies to the Local Land Services, industry commodity levies plus rates to the local council or shire.

If we are looking to raise some money or prop up a state government, land tax is a great idea. It's cleverly conceived in almost Robin Hood-like fashion of taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

But are we really rich?

Yes, commodities are good but there is a bigger picture here. It is not even a year ago that farmers in this area had their properties wiped out by fires. And even during this season, we saw large portions of the winter crop wiped out due to hail storms.

For those in the wool industry, a COVID-19 pandemic-affected market has instilled a level of volatility into this sector.

So maybe stamp duty is something we want to get rid of or change but let's make sure our voices west of the divide are heard.

If we don't want an ongoing land tax now is the time to say it.

Tell the state government you don't want it, lobby the farming groups and make sure land tax doesn't fall into the same basket as the Murray-Darling Basin issue, or dairy deregulation, or even perhaps the scrapping of the single-desk selling system for wheat.

It's harvest, everyone is busy but if this is a tax you don't want. Say so.

  • www.therural.com.au