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Question: Rental Vacancy Rates

6 March 2024

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:31): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the minister representing the Minister for Planning on the topic of rental vacancy rates.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Figures that were published earlier this week in Domain's February vacancy rates report showed that Adelaide continues to have a vacancy rate of just 0.3 per cent, the lowest in the country. The data shows that in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adelaide's rental vacancy rates were much higher, at 1.2 per cent. On Monday, Architecture Australia published an article that suggested that Australia has enough unoccupied homes to cater for the shortage of housing. Also on Monday, SACOSS released its budget submission calling for a vacancy tax to free up more rental properties in our state.

My question to the minister representing the Minister for Planning therefore is: will the government consider a vacancy tax to free up more supply for rentals here in our state and if not, why not?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (14:32): I thank the honourable member for his question. I will refer it to the Minister for Planning in the other place and bring back a response.


In reply to the Hon. R.A. SIMMS (6 March 2024).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development): The Treasurer has advised:

"The Victorian government announced a waiver to the vacant residential land tax in September 2020, and the estimated cost of that measure suggested that only around 880 properties would have been liable for the tax out of the 298,000 properties that were listed as vacant in Victoria based on the 2021 Census.

In comparison, there were 83,821 vacant properties in South Australia based on the 2021 census. Introducing an identical vacant property tax would only impact a very small number of properties in South Australia, making any benefit from implementing the tax minimal. Based on the Victorian model, it would not capture houses being constructed or renovated, holiday homes, properties used for work purposes or properties transferred during the preceding year. It is therefore likely that the number of liable properties in South Australia would be in the low hundreds.

The South Australian government does not have any plans to introduce a vacant property tax like that administered in Victoria and intends to maintain its commitment to not introducing new taxes."