THERE have been 229 home buyers in Ballarat take advantage of the $20,000 First Home Owners Grants bonus to buy in regional Victoria since July 1 last year.
State Revenue Office figures equate that to a 154 per cent increase – up from 90 - on the number of first home buyers moving into their first homes in Ballarat.
Treasurer Tim Pallas, who visited the region on Friday said the figures demonstrated how popular an area Ballarat was becoming for families looking to buy their first home.
“People are buying here because they see the value of their properties increasing, but as affordability deteriorates, we have to accept we need to find more affordable ways to get people into the housing market,” Mr Pallas said.
“One of the things we are doing of course is the doubling of the First Home Owners Grants. We also removed the first home owners stamp duty up to $600,000, so you won’t be getting investors falling into that market, what you will be getting is people who are contributing to your community.
“It’s important the financial growth that is flowing into Melbourne is spread equally across the state.”
Mr Pallas was in Ballarat on Friday to speak with businesses who are benefiting from the reduction in payroll tax.
Mr Pallas said regional payroll tax would be slashed to 2.425 per cent, half the metropolitan rate from July 1, giving regional Victoria the lowest payroll tax in Australia.
“The unemployment (in Ballarat) is lower than Melbourne,” he said. “I always say to people if you want to see if an economy is working, check to see if the unemployment rate is lower than the national average and then check to see if the region is below the metropolitan average and both of those things are happening here.
“People are employing on the back of the growing confidence in the economy and Ballarat is as good an example of that as you can get.”
Owner of Red Lion David Canny said in real terms it meant his payroll tax would fall from more than $70,000 a year to the mid $30,000s.
“For a business our size, which employs about 60 people, it will mean more wages and more opportunity to employ staff,” Mr Canny said.
“Businesses like ours hate paying payroll tax. It’s a tax to employ when we should be encouraging more employment.
“Obviously the government is reliant on that money so it’s great they’ve been able to reduce that over the last two years.”