CT Letter to the Editor published 5th May

Congratulations to the ACT government
The ACT government is to be congratulated if it introduces land rents for low income residents. It should now consider extending the idea and allow all newly developed land to be rented by anyone for any purpose – anywhere in Canberra. This would encourage businesses to establish employment opportunities outside Civic, the Airport and the parliamentary triangle. It will bring much needed employment to Tuggeranong and Gunghanlin and it will encourage investment in new rental properties rather than investors mainly buying existing houses for rent.

If the government is truly concerned with building an equitable and fair society it should resist the pressure it will come under from the many powerful people and groups in our community who benefit from land inflation. There will be opposition to the scheme because it will help reduce land inflation across the ACT. Elements within the government’s own ranks will oppose the idea because the government will does not receive money immediately from land sales which makes the short term finances look good to the detriment of long term economic viability. The banks will oppose it as it reduces the loans they need to provide for housing.

It is to be hoped that the government will resist the inevitable campaign and criticism against land rents and continue along the path of reversing the 1970’s decision to move away from land rent. It is also hoped that the Rudd government takes notice and does not sell Commonwealth land for housing but instead rents it as this will make housing more affordable and reduce inflation.