Australia’s property tax has been hit hard by the closure of an anchor property in Sydney and the launch of a new luxury residential development in the state, the ABC has learnt.
The anchor property at St James, a luxury residential and commercial complex in the central west of Sydney, is the second property to close in less than two months, with the anchor property operator SPC Ardmona shutting its doors on December 14.
Sprint Holdings SA announced in September that it would take over the anchor tenant, the historic Fitzroy-based SPC Barnsley, in a move that has left the community struggling.
In December, the owner of the St James anchor property announced plans to build a new residential development on the site, which is set to include a 500-bed guesthouse and 300-bed hotel, but has since been mothballed.
The St James property is owned by the St. James Community Development Corporation (SJCDC), which was established in 2016 by the former president of the Sydney Society, Dr Michael Kavanagh.
The ABC has spoken to members of the community who claim they have been left struggling to pay the property tax due on their homes.
The property is currently owned by SPCBarnsley.
The NSW Government has also announced that it will be looking to introduce new property tax levies for new developments, in an effort to encourage more residential developments in the Sydney CBD.
But while the council has said it is looking to reduce the value of the properties at St. James and St. Francis in Sydney’s north-west, it has not confirmed that it is going to charge more property tax.
“The council is not yet in a position to comment on any specific proposal to reduce property tax rates, but the council’s position is that property tax is a key component of our planning, which we are doing to support development,” a spokesman for the NSW Government said.
The spokesman said there was no timeline for the council to make any changes.
In recent months, the council said it was working with stakeholders to reduce and simplify the way property tax was assessed, and it was also introducing a new Property Tax Assessment Scheme (PATS) that would apply to new developments in residential areas.
Property tax will now be assessed on a three-level scale, with higher-value properties paying more and lower-value areas paying less.
At the same time, the NSW Council said it had introduced a new Land Tax Assessment (LTAP) system that would provide the council with a more detailed assessment of the value and income of properties in residential and industrial areas.
“This is a significant reduction in the cost of property tax and the council is committed to supporting these measures as they become available,” the spokesman said.
He said the council was working closely with the City of Sydney to develop a new land tax assessment system that will apply across the state.