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Stamp dutyFirst homebuyers across Victoria will save thousands of dollars in stamp duty as the state government makes good on its promise to slash the tax in its first budget.

The government will proceed with its commitment to slash stamp duty by 20 per cent for first home buyers on properties valued less than $600,000 from July 1.

This equates to almost $5,800 in stamp duty savings on the median house price of $565,000.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria chief executive Enzo Raimondo hailed the move as the most significant attempt to help people buy their first home in 10 years.

“Over the last decade there has been a bit of tinkering by the previous government but not much relief,” he said.

“It’s a first genuine step to address the affordability issue for first homebuyers.”

Before the last election, the coalition promised to halve stamp duty for first homebuyers by 2014.

Mr Raimondo said the government should also overhaul the stamp duty rates.

“Stamp duty needs to be reviewed again and significant changes made because it is double what it was 10 years ago,” he said.

Cutting stamp duty will impact on a major source of revenue for the government, with Treasury predicting before the last election the government would collect $3.8 billion from the tax in 2011-12.

Treasurer Kim Wells delivers his first budget on Tuesday.

The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is calling on the government to introduce performance pay incentives for teachers.

VECCI senior policy manager Andrew Rimington said with the flat-lining of Victorian students’ year nine national testing results, lifting the standard of teaching could help turn this trend around.

He said the business sector was concerned too many students were leaving school before finishing year 12.

Mr Rimington said poor numeracy and literacy was particularly an issue in areas of high social disadvantage.

“One of the things we can do is to reward teachers who are performing better and getting results with their students,” he told AAP.

“Performance pay is something that’s accepted in the corporate world and the public service and it is worth a try to see how that sort of approach could in fact see changed behaviour.”

He said a trial incentive pay program for teachers, along with 1000 retraining scholarships over four years for areas of teacher shortages like maths, would cost up to $16 million over four years.

Mr Rimington said bonuses could be paid to attract teachers to disadvantaged areas.

Low levels of literacy and numeracy among workers was slowing productivity, he said.

“We have got to put in a circuit breaker somewhere to start to address these crucial issues for the existing stock of students in schools now,” he said.

© 2011 AAP

Tags: government, news, property, real estate, stamp duty

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