Vacancy Tax

Banks and property developers, with the help of Labor and the LNP, have rigged the housing system against Queenslanders. It's time to tax properties left deliberately vacant in order to build affordable housing.

Quick facts

  • 20,894 homes are vacant in Brisbane
  • 21,000 Queenslanders are homeless
  • We will tax properties deliberately left vacant to help fund the construction of 200,000 affordable homes over ten years 
  • The Queensland Greens will levy an annual vacancy tax of 5% which applies to properties left deliberately vacant for 6 months, restricted to Brisbane and includes generous exemptions

One in five Queenslanders are in severe financial stress because of unaffordable rents or mortgages. An entire generation are being locked out of the housing market.

Queenslanders are struggling with the cost of rents and mortgages, and many people can’t afford to buy a house. There are 20,000 homeless people across our State, but right now there are 20,894 vacant apartments and houses in Brisbane alone. The housing market has failed.

Banks and property developers, with the help of Labor and the LNP, have rigged the housing system against Queenslanders.

Homes should be built for people, not for property developer profit. The Greens will tax properties that have been deliberately left vacant to help fund the construction of 200,000 affordable homes over ten years. We will stop the practice of keeping properties vacant and “playing the market” while Queenslanders are left without a home.

While Labor the LNP are in the pockets of big corporations, they will never tackle a broken system that allows hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders to struggle with housing while a few property developers and wealthy investors deliberately keep 20,894 homes vacant.

The Queensland Greens will levy a 5% tax on properties which are intentionally kept vacant and not advertised for rent or sale. This tax will raise $800 million over five years to help fund our plan for universal housing.

Five per cent

Levy an annual vacancy tax on vacant residential properties equal to 5% of the capital-improved value of property as determined by State Government Valuer-General.

Applies only to Brisbane

The tax would be restricted to the Brisbane City Council area. The following categories of property would be exempt from the tax:

  • Properties used for work purposes for people who need a second home to live temporarily in Brisbane. 
  • Properties that are advertised for rent or for sale at a reasonable market rate 
  • Properties which are part of a deceased estate 
  • Properties owned by residents who have temporarily moved overseas. The property must be their primary residence. 

Vacant for six months

A property must be vacant for more than 6 months in any 12 month period and be owned by the same owner for the vacancy tax to apply.

Vacant properties will be located by utilising multiple data sources, including water and utility usage, leases registered with the Residential Tenancies Authority, properties claiming an owner-occupier discount on council rates and referrals from neighbours and government agencies. 

Where a property has been classified as vacant, an owner would be able to appeal the decision.

The Queensland Greens would also investigate levying a vacancy tax on commercial property and vacant land.

The Victorian government recently introduced a similar policy at 1% of the capital-improved value of a property per year. We believe that housing should be used for people, not as a way to make a profit, which is why we have set the tax rate at 5%. Our proposed vacancy tax includes very generous exemptions, including an exemption for properties which are currently advertised for rent or sale at a reasonable market rate.

Queensland homes

Funding for universal housing

The vacancy tax would raise $800 million over five years which would help fund our plan to build 1 million affordable homes and establish universal access to social housing.

Just like healthcare and education, housing is a basic necessity which should be universal and free. The Greens would establish a Queensland Housing Trust which would build 200,000 affordable social homes over the next 10 years, and 1 million homes in the next thirty years.

Our plan for universal housing will be funded primarily through long-term government bonds taking advantage of low-interest rates available for public borrowing, with additional revenue as a supplement. Further revenue will come from our plans to make sure mining companies and property developers pay their fair share.

The Greens’ plans for housing are about ensuring everyone can with live with dignity in a comfortable home.

Read the plan

Download our plan to see more information and full costings on the vacancy tax.