Greens propose Empty Homes Levy

Kate de Costa, Central Coast GreensKate de Costa, Central Coast Greens

The Central Coast Greens have launched a new plan that will free up local rental accommodation and raise more than $16 million per year for Council to spend on community housing.
“The most recent Census data shows that more than 17,221 homes on the Central Coast are unoccupied,” Greens MP, Mr David Shoebridge said.
“That’s 14 per cent of properties, and it’s a troubling figure, given the current housing crisis,” he said.
“The Greens’ Empty Homes Levy would enable Central Coast Council to charge an additional levy on the owners of untenanted investment properties, with revenue invested in local housing projects.
“There is a huge need for affordable housing on the Central Coast, where the median house price in North Gosford $562,000.
“Homelessness is also increasing,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Greens candidate for the Gosford East Ward, Mr Stephen Pearson, said this is about addressing a basic need for those who can’t afford escalating housing costs.
“We must have a greater mix of housing on the Central Coast so that lower income earners have real options.
“The policy promotes significant discretion for the Council in applying the levy, and this is not about holiday homes or temporarily untenanted properties.
“Similar policies have worked well in Britain and will here,” Mr Pearson said.
Greens candidate for the Gosford West Ward, Ms Kate da Costa, said: “Something is deeply wrong when one in seven homes on the Coast are unoccupied but many families cannot find a place to live.
“We’re excited to be proposing a local plan to help with housing affordability.
“We can build housing where it’s needed at a scale and type that protects local amenity and reflects local need,” Ms da Costa said,
“The Greens believe in local government and we want to give councils the financial capacity to build affordable housing where it’s most needed in their communities.
“We want to change housing from being an investment vehicle for the wealthy to being a human right for everyone.
“We know that there are plenty of investors holding properties empty for financial reasons, so we need to change the financial picture and the empty homes levy does just that,” Mr Shoebridge said.
“If landlords want to keep investment properties empty, then they should pay extra rates to allow affordable housing for those who need it.
“We don’t pretend that the empty homes levy alone will fix housing affordability, but every home we build makes a world of difference to those who live there,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Media release, Aug 17
Kate da Costa, Central Coast Greens