NSW Nationals Senator Perin Davey has sought assurances that farmers and investors who lease agricultural land will not be hit by new taxes through proposed changes to federal income tax assessment legislation.
The Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures No. 1) Bill 2019 currently before Parliament proposes to change tax deductions applicable to vacant land to prevent land banking and encourage development of housing, but there are concerns that agricultural land will be caught in the definition of vacant land.
Senator Davey said she raised the issue directly with the responsible minister, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar MP, this week after reports that the legislation did not specifically exempt land used for primary production.
“This issue is rightly a significant concern for farmers, many of whom lease their farmland either through shared farming arrangements or as part of their business succession planning,” Senator Davey said.
“While I note that some of the supporting documents with the legislation show the intent of the changes are not to apply to land used for primary production, the fact that there is no specific exemption for this land is cause for concern,” she said.
“Without clear legal exemptions, we are relying on interpretation and that is not a good enough assurance for the farmers and farming families that I represent.”
Senator Davey said while the intent of the law is commendable, the drafting needs to specifically carve out agricultural land from the definition of vacant land.
“I have sought advice from the Assistant Treasurer and I wait to be reassured that farmers in my State, and across Australia, won’t be negatively impacted by this change,” she said.