Labor has given its clearest signs yet that it would make changes to negative gearing if it takes office next year.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said he would “not rule out” changes to the investment sweetener which he would take to the next election, but wouldn’t abolish it entirely.
“On negative gearing I would not rule out going to the election with changes,” he said on the ABC’s 7.30 program.
“I don’t think anybody’s going to abolish negative gearing totally.”
He said his party’s “principles” were to protect property investments already made, by people who had bought into the current negative gearing tax system.
“Any policy that we implement would be designed to improve housing supply. That’s the key criteria,” he said.
In March Mr Bowen put out his discussion paper on tax reform, seeking feedback on 16 points including planning laws and negative gearing.
In a week when the opposition showcased its fiscal policies, including changes it would make to the superannuation system, Mr Bowen fronted the nation’s media in Canberra.
“Labor will have more savings than new spending over ten years,” he said in a National Press Club address on Wednesday.
He also proposed changes to superannuation tax breaks for wealthy retirees.
“We need a stable and targeted approach to super tax concessions,” he said.
Mr Bowen applied the criteria that any moves would take aim at retirees with assets worth more than $1.5 million, and would tax super payments at 15 per cent when the super fund is dishing out more than $75,000 a year. People earning more than $250,000 a year from their super would pay 30 per cent in tax.
“When Joe Hockey says the aged pension is unsustainable, he is wrong. It is sustainable,” he said.