Vacancy tax bill delayed, following Greens pressure for strong housing reform


The Victorian Labor Government has moved to delay a vote on its own state taxation bill, after the Greens said they would need a commitment to strong housing reform in order to be able to support it. 

The government’s vacancy tax changes that were stalled earlier today would have seen roughly 600 homes be made available as long-term rentals.

A Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) costing obtained by the Greens revealed that under the Greens’ plan, an enforceable vacancy tax could free up more than 10,000 homes as rentals.

The Greens had previously written to the government outlining their concerns that Labor’s recent housing statement would make the housing crisis worse. 

The Greens then invited the government to work with them on reforms that would work to address the spiralling housing crisis, including:

  • Rent controls to protect renters from out-of-control rent rises via a two-year rent freeze, followed by a permanent cap on rent increases.
  • Stop the plans to privatise public housing land and the wholesale demolition of public housing. And a government commitment to maintain existing housing and build 100,000 new public homes within the decade.

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said it was clear that pressure works.

She said Labor now needed to take this critical opportunity to work with the Greens on a housing approach that would work, and wouldn’t see renters continue to face unlimited rent increases, or our 125,000 public housing wait list grow.

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:

“Right now renters are facing unlimited rent hikes, people in regional Victoria are sleeping in tents and caravans, and our 125,000 state housing wait list is continuing to grow.

“The Greens won’t support an approach to housing that ignores thousands of people in financial distress, and will make the housing crisis worse.

“If Labor wants to pass any part of its housing statement in Parliament, they’ll need to work with the Greens on reforms that will work, like rent controls and commitment to build public housing.”