Treasurer extends transfer duty relief for family farms

Treasurer Curtis Pitt has announced the extension of transfer duty relief for farm water rights transferred within a family.

“At the 2016-17 Budget I responded to findings by the Rural Debt and Drought Task Force as well as calls from peak groups, and farming families across the state by announcing the removal of the requirement for transfers to be by way of gift to be eligible for the transfer duty concession for familial land transfers for farms,” Mr Pitt said.

“I have also been approached by the Queensland Farmers Federation and Cotton Australia seeking relief for other types of property in familial transfers such as water rights.

“I have listened to the concerns of the agriculture sector and I have acted to ensure that all property used to carry on family farm businesses can now access the transfer duty relief for familial transfers.

“For some farms with water-intensive crops, such as cotton, the water rights can be worth more than the land.

“The Palaszczuk Government is focused on dealing with the legacy issues in Queensland agriculture associated with rural debt, on stimulating renewal, and on investing for the future.

“This extra measure, extends the work of the $36 million Rural Assistance Package announced at the State Budget.

“It makes it easier for sons or daughters to buy out their farming parents who are seeking to retire and helps underpin the viability of the family farm,” Mr Pitt said.

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has welcomed the move with president Stuart Armitage saying water assets were an integral and valuable part of irrigation-based businesses.

“QFF thanks the state government for this significant policy change,” Mr Armitage said.

“We also acknowledge the government’s willingness to engage with us and others in the rural sector to deliver this positive outcome.”

Cotton Australia General Manager Michael Murray also welcomed the changes to water assets explaining that for cotton farmers water assets often made up 50-80% of the overall farm assets. “The inclusion of water assets will be welcomed by all cotton farmers and will greatly assist with family succession.”

Acting Minister for Agriculture Dr Anthony Lynham said: “I know this announcement will be welcomed by producers throughout Queensland.

“This is another Palaszczuk Labor commitment to assist younger primary producers stay on the land.

“Minister Bill Byrne heard from producers and peak bodies first-hand how the stamp duty exemption would make a real difference for those buying the farm off mum and dad and this further announcement means that more monies saved in stamp duty can be invested in property.”

Mr Pitt said the extra measures would take effect from 12 October this year.

He said the Office of State Revenue would shortly publish a ruling setting out the terms of how the administrative arrangement applies to these transfers.

It is intended that the Government will move amendments to give retrospective legislative effect to the administrative arrangement in the near future.

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