The Coalition’s first budget announced on 3 May 2011 delivered on our commitment to fix the problems and build for the future. After more than eleven years of Brumby Government record high state taxes, wasteful programs like Myki and smart meters, the Coalition Government is focussed on delivering state services that work and reducing the state tax burden.
The Coalition realises that increasing living costs for essential services have risen unsustainably under the Brumby Government. In fact during the eleven year life of the Brumby Government the consumer price index rose 38 per cent in Melbourne whilst:
- average electricity bills increased by 98% from $551 in 1999 to over $1,091;
- average gas bills increased by 87% from $501 in 1999 to $937; and
- water bills increased by a whopping 126%
In contrast to these essential service prices rises, the Coalition’s first budget introduced a year round energy concession of 17.5% off mains gas and electricity bills.
Under the Brumby Government, Victoria had the highest stamp duty regime in the country. As the starting point of stamp duty reform, the Coalition’s budget provided stamp duty cuts to concession card holders and first home buyers.
The current stamp duty concession scheme operating up to 30 June 2011 gives eligible pensioners a full exemption from stamp duty for properties valued up to $330,000, while a partial concession applies for properties valued between $330,000 and $440,000. Importantly, under the existing scheme Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) holders are not eligible for any stamp duty concessions.
The Coalition Government has acted to implement a fairer stamp duty system by increasing the concession eligibility threshold to $750,000. We are also extending the stamp duty concession to holders of a CSHC.
This means that pensioners and CSHC holders will be entitled to a full exemption for properties valued up to $330,000, and a concession will be available on a sliding scale for the difference between $330,000 and purchase prices up to a limit of $750,000. The new concessions will apply for contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2011.
First home buyers will also receive a stamp duty cut through a 50% reduction in first home buyer stamp duty during this parliamentary term. This program commences with contracts entered into from 1 July receiving a 20% stamp duty cut. Further first home buyer stamp duty cuts will follow over the coming financial years.
Our commitment to reducing state taxes and charges for Victorians is clear. The stamp duty cuts and essential service discounts outlined in the budget are just two examples of this commitment.