LABOR WELCOMES GOVERNMENT'S OPAL TOWER BUNGLE BACKDOWN

The Government’s bleakly titled ‘Treasury Amendment Laws (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures NO. 1) Bill 2019’ contained botched legislative work regarding the definition of ‘vacant land’, leaving the door open for Opal and Mascot Tower residents getting whacked again while overseas investors get a free pass.

Despite this, as late as Tuesday this week, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar continued to insist that the legislation would not have any impact on unusable buildings.
 
The Government have now agreed to Labor’s calls to address the unintended negative gearing consequences for mum and dad investors in buildings with structural defects in their own tax legislation.
 
The Assistant Treasurer’s repeated  ‘nothing to see here’ argument went out the window when Recommendation 1 of the Economics Legislation Committee called for the legislation to be amended “to address any unintended consequences for property owners where the property is unusable for reasons outside their control”.
 
Labor welcomes the news that common sense has prevailed and the Government will rectify this mistake.
 
The Bill has had tax practitioners up in arms with Chartered Accountants ANZ concerned that  “In light of recent problems in Sydney with newly constructed apartments impacted by structural defects (e.g. Opal and Mascot towers), it has been brought to our attention that these buildings could be inadvertently caught by these provisions as they are no longer lawfully able to be occupied due to structural defects’.
 
This was sloppy legislation from a Government that did not expect to be here.  Not only do the Government have no plan for the floundering economy - in their rush to pull together a legislative agenda, they are making sloppy mistakes.
 
Labor will continue to hold the Government to account.