I rise to speak on Mr Hayes motion 532 this afternoon. Gee, after listening to some of the earlier contributions I think perhaps next Wacky Wednesday we need to have a bit of a truth-o-meter—a fact checker or something that is inserted into this chamber so that we can actually tell the truth from what is really going on. But continuing on the opposition’s conspiracy theories in the last week, now Mr Davis—following Mrs McArthur’s suggestions and then of course the Shadow Treasurer’s tweets—would have us believe that every vacant house in metropolitan Melbourne is owned by some foreign investor, we do not know, who fitted them out with a watering system where the taps come on with a timer and then somebody is there flicking the lights on and off. I wonder if that is what Daniel Andrews is doing. He is running around Melbourne being Wee Willie Winkie, turning taps and lights on and off in vacant houses. Perhaps that is what he is doing, Mr Davis. Perhaps he actually owns, in conjunction with—I do not know—some foreign investor, 60, 70, 80 properties and he is running around turning on the taps and turning on and off the lights.
There is a serious element to this motion of course, but my friend Ms Watt dispatched some of the things that Mr Hayes discussed in his contribution. But again, there is a need for us to ensure that in all of these sorts of debates there is a proper level of facts that we are considering. I want to just take a minute to talk about the government’s history on housing affordability in this place. Of course it is a very important issue for this side of the house and that is why, since being elected in 2014, the government has made a series of interventions across Victoria to make housing more affordable. Ms Watt talked about July 2017 when the government announced their Homes for Victorians strategy, where stamp duty for first home buyers for purchases under $600 000 was abolished and of course concessions were available to purchasers up to $750 000.
Thereafter we have helped more than 143 000 Victorians buy their first home, saving them in excess of $2.4 billion in stamp duty. Just between July 2019 and 30 June 2020, more than 40 000 first home buyers saved a collective $724 million in stamp duty across the state. In regional Victoria, Geelong was the top spot for stamp duty savings, with almost 2000 homebuyers having their stamp duty fees either waived or reduced at a total saving of close to $31 million. I am proud to say that Bendigo as well as Ballarat, in Mitchell and Baw Baw shires, rounded out the top five, with regional first home buyers saving nearly $120 million. So there has been significant investment in public policy to reduce the burden on first home buyers.
Then of course we announced through the 2021 budget the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build. That will deliver over 12 000 new homes throughout Victoria and that will include 9300 social housing properties and a further 2900 mainly affordable housing dwellings. Twenty-five per cent of those will be built in regional Victoria.
I have been here for a few years now, and it is amazing the people who get up in these debates. They talk about housing affordability and that they want a greater level of affordable housing, but they never, ever vote for any proposition that this government brings forward in this space. And I would invite members in this chamber to review the voting records of people in this place to see who has put their hand up for affordable housing time and time again compared to those who come up with all of these responses to public housing and why it cannot be built here, why we cannot do it there. Suddenly it is going to affect livability of people who live there. It is always the same catchcry.
I want to tackle just for a moment the issue of temporary land transfer duty waivers that Mr Hayes talked about, and the data from the State Revenue Office is that less than 0.1 per cent of purchasers who have benefited from this temporary land transfer duty waiver since November have been foreign purchasers. I think that is very important, because the suggestion was that there were a whole lot more, but in fact there have only been 25 foreign purchasers out of more than 37 000 properties that have availed themselves of that temporary land transfer duty waiver.
Of course even those still paid the foreign purchaser additional duty, and just on that foreign purchaser additional duty, it was this government that introduced that here in the state of Victoria. We wanted to ensure that those foreign purchasers were making their fair contribution to our system here in Victoria, and we acknowledge that without the introduction of this foreign purchaser additional duty these people would not have made any contribution over time. It should also be noted as part of this debate that the level of that additional duty, the foreign purchaser additional duty, stands at 8 per cent, equal with New South Wales and higher than the other states and territories. In particular, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia have rates of 7 per cent, and Tasmania has a rate of 3 per cent. So whilst you may well argue that it should be higher, in fact it is the highest in the nation, and we are proud of the fact that we have introduced a scheme where those foreign purchasers do come in and they are required to pay that additional duty.
Very quickly in my time remaining, on the vacant residential land tax, self-assessment is not new in our taxation regime in this country. In fact it has long been a feature of our regime, and I know because I used to work in the tax office, so I am very familiar with the regimes that were in place—in fact with Mr Quilty. We are alumni of the Australian Taxation Office. I know he does not like to remember that part of his life, because he is now opposed to tax, but when it was putting food on his table he was happy. He is a graduate of the Australian Taxation Office. So we are alumni of the Australian Taxation Office, and at least one of us is very, very proud of that fact, because I am not anti-tax. So as to the idea that self-assessment is something new or something inadequate, it has long been a feature of our taxation system, as it is in terms of the vacant residential land tax.
Again, if you listened to the contributions that were made around this point, you would think that the State Revenue Office does not undertake any appropriate monitoring and compliance activities in relation to the vacant residential land tax. But of course nothing could be further from the truth, and they do in fact do that. Mr Hayes talked about many aspects of the federal taxation system. That is a matter for the federal government of course. I note his call for the state government to call on the federal government to do some reform in this area now, and he is more than capable of making that point himself to the federal government. So whilst the member is absolutely right to raise these areas of concern, it is also crucial that when we are making our contributions in this place we are doing so based on facts, so that people who may well be following this debate are able to make up their own minds based on those facts, rather than introducing notions such as Wee Willie Winkie running though the town, turning on the lights and turning on the water taps of all the vacant properties in metropolitan Melbourne. I hope it is not that Daniel Andrews who is doing that, because I am sure if you ask Mr Davis, he is absolutely guilty.