The opposition will wait until after the federal election to decide if and when a Labor government would make changes to the negative gearing tax break.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has confirmed a proposed timeframe for the reforms won’t be established until after the poll, likely to be in May.
“We will do it after the election, in consultation. The shadow treasurer will have more to say on it,” he told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.
Labor wants to retain negative gearing only for newly-built homes – with the policy grandfathered so the changes won’t apply to existing investors – and make changes to capital gains tax.
The federal government argues the move would be “bad policy” that would reduce the value of people’s homes and raise rental costs.
That comes as house prices in Australia’s big cities are tipped to continue declining in 2019.
Dwelling prices already dropped by 4.8 per cent nationally in 2018, according to CoreLogic data.
But Mr Shorten says the changes would be a “fairness measure” and that the government is trying to distract from its own shortcoming.
“The current government is pulling a sort of pea and thimble trick, where they want you to look over here at Labor’s future policies so as to take your attention from the fact that under the current government this economy is not working properly,” he said.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the there’s a growing list of independent economists and property analysts warning against the concept and that most people who use negative gearing “are not rich”.
“Two in three people who negative gear have a taxable income less than $80,000,” he told AAP on Friday.
“It’s an inconvenient truth for Labor, but the people they claim to represent are those who will be hurt by their plan.”