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Stamp duty axed in NSW budget -

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LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Back home now to the nation's largest economy, and in NSW the state's
beleaguered government has promised to eliminate stamp duty for people buying new homes off the
plan.

The aim's to help builders secure finance in tough economic times, but the scheme comes with a
catch, the homes have to be valued under $600,000.

The initiative was the centrepiece of the NSW state budget, which is also remarkable for its return
to surplus.

Matt Wordsworth reports.

MATT WORDSWORTH, REPORTER: Buying a home is everyone's dream; for many, it's not a reality.

VOX POP: Sydney I think is one of the most expensive cities to actually buy a new home in. It's
expensive enough to live, let alone buy a new home.

MATT WORDSWORTH: From July, buying a home off the plan for less than $600,000 incurs no stamp duty,
a saving of up to $22,500.

People over 65 will also have their stamp duty wiped if they sell their home, build a new one for
under $600,000 and live in it for 12 months.

VOX POP II: Older people in the community don't want to be rolling around in bigger homes.

MATT WORDSWORTH: And there'll be a 25 per cent cut for buying homes under $600,000 that have
already been built, a saving of about $5,000.

AARON GADIEL, URBAN TASKFORCE: I'm pleased to say that we've not got real evidence that the State
Government has been listening.

MATT WORDSWORTH: Developers say it will help them get finance.

JOHN CARLI, MIRVAC: We see it as a positive stimulus. We see it certainly positive in terms of
helping us release more product to market.

MATT WORDSWORTH: The two-year scheme will cost $140 million and create 8,000 homes.

ERIC ROOZENDAAL, NSW TREASURER: All of the different trades that go into that, into building a
home, then there's the need to furnish it.

So the multiplier effect through the economy's very strong for housing.

MATT WORDSWORTH: The flipside is the new ad valorem fee on homes costing more than $500,000. A
$600,000 million would attract a $200 fee.

A million dollar home would be slugged $1,000. The property market is providing a massive boost to
state finances and allows the Treasurer to hand down a $773 million surplus this year, with
surpluses into the future.

Economic growth is now expected to be 3 per cent and unemployment has been revised down to 5.5 per
cent.

ERIC ROOZENDAAL: The beacon of hope I talked about last year has lit the path to prosperity for New
South Wales.

MATT WORDSWORTH: There is bad news, mainly for motorists. They're already facing the $500 million
car weight tax, now the Government expects to pocket an extra $137 million from increased fines
thanks to mobile speed vans.

PETER KHOURY, NRMA: If the revenue goes up and the road toll doesn't come down, then we need to
look at whether or the system's making any difference at all.

MATT WORDSWORTH: But there's no funding for major projects like the M4 East.

ERIC ROOZENDAAL: We need to change our thinking that the only way to move around Sydney is roads.

BARRY O'FARRELL, NSW OPPOSITION LEADER: If the Treasurer has said that, the Treasurer is a bigger
dope than I thought he was, because Sydney's road congestion is also a huge constraint on doing
business in this city.

MATT WORDSWORTH: But if the economy has turned, there'll be plenty of cash in the kitty for an
election less than 10 months away.

Matt Wordsworth, Lateline.