Edited by Richard M. Bird and Enid Slack
Chapter 6: Property Taxation in Australia
Enid Slack Australia is a federation with three levels of government: federal, state and local. There are six states (divided into local government areas) and two territories (in which there is only one level of government). There are 143 urban municipalities and 579 regional and rural municipalities in the country. Constitutional responsibility for local governments rests with the states and territories. They provide the legal framework in which local governments operate. They also oversee their operations. States and territories mandate the local electoral system, establish municipal boundaries, and regulate local services. Local governments in each state (as well as the territorial governments) are authorized by state or territorial legislation to levy rates on property. Municipal rates vary across states/territories. Property taxes comprise the land tax, municipal rates, ﬁnancial and capital transactions and other property taxes levied. Table 6.1 shows a breakdown of the level of government that levies each of these taxes. This chapter focuses on the state land tax and municipal rates, with a particular focus on one state – New South Wales. Table 6.1 Distribution of property tax revenues, by level of government, Australia, 1999–2000 (%) Commonwealth Land tax Municipal rates Financial and capital transactions Other property taxes 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.6 State 100.0 1.6 100.0 98.4 Local 0.0 98.4 0.0 0.0 Source: Based on information in National Ofﬁce of Local Government (2001). Revenue importance Table 6.2 provides a breakdown of the sources of revenue to local government in Australia in 2000–2001. It shows that local...
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