Canberra Matters columnist PAUL COSTIGAN reports the an ACT integrity commission is almost a reality.
JEREMY Hanson says that, if elected in October 2016, a Canberra Liberals government will remove the Lease Variation Charge (LVC) in Civic and Canberra’s town centres.
“The LVC has a negative effect on two fronts,” Jeremy said.
“Firstly, it has stifled growth, investment and redevelopment in Canberra, ultimately adding tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of new projects, including new housing units. Secondly, it has failed to bring in revenue for the ACT. It is Canberra’s mining tax, a failed tax.”
“Our town centres have been forgotten by the Barr government. The Canberra Liberals will give them the kick-start they need and allow the private sector to dowhat it does best. We will remove the LVC in Civic, Tuggeranong, Woden, Belconnen and Gungahlin Town Centres for four years,” Mr Hanson concluded.
“The LVC creates a massive upfront cost for developers meaning many projects never get off the ground. When they do, the costs get passed on to home buyers and critically first home buyers. Furthermore, it’s an impediment to growth in the areas that need it. Our town centres,” Shadow Treasurer Brendan Smyth said.
“Removing the LVC is a win for Canberrans. It has been stopping the city from achieving greater density, stopping jobs in construction, stopping the supply of housing in desirable locations, all while providing an unreliable revenue stream.
“I’m proud to be putting this commitment forward as part of the Canberra Liberals platform for government in the ACT. Scrapping the LVC is integral to bringing renewal to the City and our town centres,” Mr Smyth concluded.
UPDATE: The Property Council has expressed it’s pleasure with today’s announcement.
“The Property Council always supports good policy – and the Liberal Party’s commitment to relax the LVC in the CBD and town centres is good policy,” says the Property Council’s ACT Executive Director, Catherine Carter.
“We have been advocating for the removal of LVC from Civic and the town centres for a number of years, and encourage the ACT Government to consider adopting a similar policy to help drive its ambitious urban renewal agenda.
“Relaxing the LVC will accelerate adaptive reuse of older buildings – something which KREAB Research, released just last week, has found has strong support from Canberrans.
“In its current form, the LVC distorts investment decisions and impedes the upgrade of empty, redundant C and D Grade commercial offices – contributing to what is now the second highest office vacancy rate in the country.
“Unless the ACT Government adopts a more realistic taxation policy, these older buildings will continue to deteriorate.
“The LVC has not raised the anticipated revenue – with the June 2015 financial report revealing a $2.8 million shortfall on budget.
“It’s also a deterrent to more sustainable urban development, as it discourages urban renewal.
“In short, the LVC is an anti-competitive tax which handicaps private sector innovation and investment, especially where we need it most.