Iemma scraps vendor tax
Premier-elect Morris Iemma has quickly put his stamp on the NSW government, scrapping the state's unpopular vendor duty and adding the job of treasurer to his duties. Mr Iemma, to be sworn in as premier today, will also take over as treasurer from Deputy Premier Andrew Refshauge, who today announced he will follow Bob Carr into retirement. Soon after being elected unopposed by Labor colleagues as leader of the NSW parliamentary party, Mr Iemma announced the 2.25 per cent vendor duty on the sale of investment properties would be scrapped immediately. He said the tax, introduced last year, was now a brake on economic activity. LJ Hooker Lismore principal and Real Estate Institute of NSW board member Paul Deegan believes the decision will see investors return to the Northern Rivers. Mr Deegan said local investors could be enticed back into the property market, following a drop in sales in the past six months. He said investors would no longer be deterred by the prospect of having to pay the tax when reselling a property. "I think we'll find investors will come back into the market, because people considering buying may now change their mind and do something about it," Mr Deegan said. "It may encourage people to buy now rather than later down the track. "The Real Estate Institute had been calling for this from the very start. It's removal is a very good thing." Mr Iemma also announced he would be Treasurer, but said he would appoint a finance minister to oversee identifying and eliminating Government waste to help pay for the scrapping of the vendor tax. He also promised to consider winding back poker machine tax, and said improving the transport system would be his highest priority. Mr Iemma last night was finalising his new team.