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STAMP duty on housing loans could be abolished after the Henry tax review, which is likely to recommend states be given a share of income tax to make up the difference.

The most likely path to do this would be for the Commonwealth to give the states the ability to impose their own surcharge on income tax, which would be collected for them by the Australian Tax Office.

 The Henry review has been inundated with submissions calling for the end of stamp duty.

Tax economists argue that the tax on moving house, although easy to collect, leads to poor use of the housing stock and poor labour mobility, The Australian reports.Having to pay stamp duty not only discourages elderly people from moving to more appropriate accommodation, it also deters people from moving house to a better jobs market. 

At a conference conducted by the Henry tax review at the Melbourne Institute last week, both international and Australian tax economists said stamp duty should go, with Melbourne University professor John Freebairn describing the tax as “a piece of garbage”.

The review panel is being influenced by state submissions arguing that replacing stamp duty by extending other state taxes, such as payroll tax or land tax, would be too difficult to implement nationally.

Tasmanian Treasury secretary Don Challen, who is close to the inquiry’s head, federal Treasury secretary Ken Henry, told last week’s conference that reform of state taxes would succeed only with leadership from the national government.                                                                                                                                                      stamp duty

“If you want to achieve a difficult reform, you’ve got to make it a national one,” Mr Challen said.

He said it would be too hard to win political consensus to extend land or payroll taxes.

“It requires eight lots of political commitment and eight lots of legislation and that path is doomed to failure,” he said.

However, he said he believed states would be willing to act on stamp duty if the commonwealth provided an avenue for alternative revenue.

The idea of giving states a cut of income tax was pressed two years ago by the OECD, which suggested the states “piggy-back” on income tax. The OECD also urged states to drop stamp duty.

One of the world’s leading experts on federal taxes, Canada’s Richard Bird, said the states were heading for a financial crisis because they did not have a sufficient tax base to support their burgeoning health and education costs, which were all rising much faster than the consumer price index.

One of the problems with stamp duty for the states is that it is vulnerable to the state of property markets.

Stamp duty usually raises about $14 billion a year for the states, but the recent state budgets showed big falls of more than $1bn each in NSW and Queensland, in 2008-09, for example.

“In Australia, it should certainly be feasible to permit states to impose a surcharge on the federal personal income tax base,” Professor Bird said.

He said that, ideally, Australia would follow the Scandinavian practice of allowing states to have a flat tax surcharge on income, rather than mirroring the commonwealth’s progressive taxation.

The states would be allowed to set their own level, making states more responsible for their own finances.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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AN MP wants Queenslanders to be buried in cardboard coffins in natural bush cemeteries where the decomposing bodies can promote vegetation growth.

coffinThe “green in death” approach has been advocated by Labor’s Barbara Stone who told Parliament about a body’s “natural nutrients.”

 

She suggested that more local authorities follow the lead of the Gold Coast City Council which is planning the state’s first natural bushland cemetery.

 

“The site will be an old quarry to be filled with suitable soil so that bodies can decompose and provide valuable nutrients that encourage the rejuvenation of native flora,” she said. 

Body disposal should have as little impact on the environment as possible after taking into account the deceased’s personal, cultural or traditional practices, Ms Stone said. If someone wanted to be buried in a cardboard box “under a shady tree” this should be permitted.

Ms Stone, who represents Springwood, said responsible Queenslanders should go to their grave in eco-friendly coffins made from fibre waste.

“Testing has shown that they release half the emissions of a standard coffin,” she said.

Of the 24,500 coffins used in Queensland last year, less than 100 were made from this alternative material.

This represented a waste of timber and valuable metals and exposed the environment to toxic embalming chemicals.

New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania have bushland cemeteries where only native stone can be used as burial markers.

But Ms Stone said that if there was no stone the “savvy techno can have a GPS device placed in their hands so their families can return to honour the bushland settings and their loved ones”.

Queensland bans burials on private land although there are some exceptions – former premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen is at rest in the grounds of his home Bethany, near Kingaroy.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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What makes Australia great ?  Is it our culture ?  Is it our people ?

Is it our determined spirit ?  Or is it something else entirely ?

It’s a question with no single answer.   And it’s a discussion that everyone is invited to be a part of.

www.allofaus.com.au is a home for our thoughts on what makes Australia great and it will shape ‘Our Spirit’ – a magazine keepsake that you’ll find in newspapers across Australia in the last weekend of July.

It won’t be the same without you, so share your thoughts and feelings on the unique nature of today’s Australian spirit. Feel free to use words, a picture or even a video. It’s up to you.

What sets us apart ;  What makes Australia great ?  Have your say.

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Treasurer Wayne Swan has taken aim at Australia’s biggest home lender, labelling it selfish for lifting its mortgage and business lending rates.  swan_rudd_hand_400

Other banks have refused to rule out following the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA’s) surprise decision to lift its home and business loan rates by 10 basis points to offset higher funding costs.

The opposition said the government’s huge debt burden was putting pressure on interest rates, while a prominent market economist said it may force the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut the official rate again to counter any impact from CBA’s move.

CBA said it took Friday’s decision “reluctantly”, but at a standard variable mortgage rate of 5.74 per cent, up from 5.64 per cent, it was still the lowest on the market.

The rate hike will add $18 a month to repayments on a $300,000 home loan over 25 years.

The bank said it had absorbed as much of its additional funding costs for as long as it could.

“Unfortunately, we have seen the bank’s wholesale funding costs remain high and continue to increase as previous long term funding matures and is replaced with new funding at significantly higher cost,” CBA group executive of retail banking services Ross McEwan said in a statement.

Such reasoning drew no sympathy from the treasurer.

There are ups and downs when it comes to those decisions over time, but there are few decisions I can think of that are more selfish than this one,” Mr Swan told reporters in Brisbane.

“I think Australians, rightly, will be furious with the Commonwealth Bank.”

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd echoed those sentiments during a speech to a business lunch in Brisbane.

“We are all in this together – businesses, workers, government and the Reserve Bank – and today’s decision by the Commonwealth Bank runs counter to this nationwide effort,” Mr Rudd said.

The other three major banks – ANZ, National Australia Bank and Westpac – said their rates were constantly under review.

NAB said it had no current plans to raise its home loan rate but noted “all Australian banks” had been incurring significantly higher funding costs for some time.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said the government was putting pressure on interest rates by running up a huge debt.

“Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan feigned outrage about this interest rate increase, yet they are directly responsible for it,” Mr Hockey told reporters in Sydney.

“This is the beginning. You will end up with higher interest rates directly as a result of the spending binge of the Rudd government and the massive debt they are accruing.”

Home buyers may be enjoying the lowest mortgage rates in 41 years, but have already missed out on about 30 to 40 basis points of the RBA’s total 425 basis points of official rate cuts, with banks refusing to pass on the cuts in full because of the cost of funding.

For small businesses it has been even worse, being short changed by about 140 basis points.

The CBA’s decision comes in a week that saw massive boosts to both consumer and business confidence, as well as data showing sustained growth in home lending – sucked in by low mortgage rates and a more generous first home owners grant.

April mortgage data showed loan demand has grown for seven straight months to a 14-month high, as well as record demand from first home buyers and the strongest interest from investors in nearly two years.

It also showed that the banks have cornered more than 92 per cent of all loans – a 33-year high.

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said CBA’s decision could well be countered by another cut by the RBA.

“If it does have an impact, particularly on confidence in the housing market, which has been the most encouraging source of recovery in the Australian economy, it may bring a rate cut back on the table at the Reserve Bank,” Mr Evans told Sky News

Source  :  www.thedaily.com.au

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Finally after a decade of trying to get plans to develop on the banks of the Moore River, they have been given the go ahead to build 2000 newmoore river homes. 

Planning Minister John Day told parliament Cabinet had approved a smaller development that is allowing a population of up to 6000 people.

Original plans have been cut by 60 per cent which would have allowed a population of around 15000 people.

Marcus Plunkett the developer has said ” this will ensure that the shire of Gingin will have a major residential and tourism development which will bring much needed infrastructure to the area.”

This development will still need to put forward plans for approval, a revised plan is expected to be released for public comment.

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house ad

CLICK HERE TO VISIT RENTAL PROPERTY WEBSITE

Set in the quiet residential neighbourhood of Mindarie, this picturesque house is only a minutes walk from a beautiful park and playground, 10 minutes stroll from the lively bars and restaurants found along the boardwalk at Mindaire Marina, and a quick 2 minute drive from door to shore.

What makes this house different, and so much better, than all the other rental properties out there today? Simple. It’s not just a rental property, it’s a home. And because it’s lived in, it will offer you exactly what you’ll be missing when you first touch down in Perth – all of the creature comforts that will make you feel at home.

So whether you are looking for somewhere to stay for your beach side holiday, or just a place to park your suitcases when you first arrive, this house might be just what you’re looking for – the perfect to unwind, relax, explore and settle into a new life in Perth.

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WHILE the plunge in western suburbs property prices is common knowledge, at least one prominent millionaire is willing to test the waters.

 

Eileen Bond, ex-wife of businessman Alan Bond, wants to sell one of her plush Peppermint Grove homes.  eileen
The View St mansion, which is on the market for $6.35 million, has been used as a guesthouse for “Big Red’s” family and friends since she moved to Leake St to live behind her daughter, Jody, three years ago.

Real estate agent William Porteous said Ms Bond was downsizing and looking for something more practical.

Her daughter lives in another part of Peppermint Grove and so she bought a house directly behind her daughter’s which is just more practical for their day-to-day lives,” he said.

Jody Fewster lives with her husband, Damian, and their two sons, aged six and 10.

Ms Fewster said they had always been a close family.

We even lived in View St with her for a short time when we first came back from Sydney; it’s a fantastic house, she said.

Ms Fewster said her house was attached to her mother’s through an adjoining room and gymnasium.

We love having mum here, we have a ready-made babysitter, she said. Ms Fewster said the View St home held precious family memories.

I really miss the tennis court there, she said. At Christmas we’d all be out there playing cricket under the lights.

The classic Italianate residence has four bedrooms and four bathrooms, and a marble ensuite to the master bedroom.

It also has a swimming pool and a two-storey foyer, and is on a 1500sqm block.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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SITUATED in one of Mindarie’s best sought after locations, this lavish residence commands respect.                                           20 clarecastle mindarie

Beautifully finished both inside and out, the home makes great use of space.

Sprawled over three levels, and with 550sqm of indoor and outdoor living, entertaining has never been such a breeze.

Accompanied with ocean and marina vistas and you’ve got a house that is sure to impress.

Upon entry into the home there is a chic foyer with stunning spiral staircase. This elegance is matched by the luxurious formal lounge and dining areas with decorative feature ceilings.

There is a great sense of space throughout the home thanks to the open-plan kitchen, meals and family room.

A stylish and elegantly appointed kitchen creates a focal point in the home, and comes complete with state of the art built-in stainless steel appliances, ample storage and island bench with galaxy granite black bench tops and splash backs.

With five bedrooms and three bathrooms this luxury abode is ideal for a growing family. The master bedroom, with unsurpassed ocean views is serviced by an open-plan en-suite complete with relaxing corner spa.

After a hectic day, immerse yourself in a hot spa and feel your stress drift away.

To ensure everyone in the home takes advantage of the amazing WA sunsets, balconies can be found on every level of the home.

The home also features, a spacious games room with sleek granite service bar, airconditioning to all rooms, intercom security system and reticulation.

Well positioned, you are only a short walk to the beach.

Home Features

Bed: Five

Bath: Three

Garage: Two

Agent: Jones Ballard Property Group

Contact:Sabrina & Michael Minic 0433 299 908

www.inmycommunity.com.au

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Sarah MacPherson, Melville

Sarah has a 19-year-old daughter living at home, and is in the process of starting up a technology-based business.                 single mother
 
What Sarah wanted:
Measures to help vulnerable in society, such as pensioners, carers and single parents;
. Increased taxes on cigarettes and alcopops;
. Stimulus packages for small startup companies;
. Maintenance of the First Homeowners Grant boost;
. Investment in education;
. Dumping of the GST charged on sanitary products.
 What she got:
. Increased pensions – by $32.49 for singles and $10.14 per couple.
. The pension age lifted to 67 between years 2017 and 2023.
. First Homeowners Grant boost to remain until September 2009, but to be halved after that.
. Opening up university places for additional 50,000 students over four years from next financial year.
. $437 million over four years to boost number of disadvantaged students at university.
. A 50 per cent small business tax break for eligible capital expenditure.
Her verdict:
“I suppose the first word that came to mind was ‘predictable’,” Sarah said.
 
“The rise in pension age means many of the battlers will have to battle a little longer.
 
“But if you look at the current global economy, they probably haven’t done too badly – they can’t please everybody”

www.watoday.com.au

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