All eyes on new leadership team in WA

An independent infrastructure agency, strata reform and a commitment to infill are three positive policies that will support the property industry as Western Australia elects a new government.

According to the Property Council’s WA executive director, Lino Iacomella, the property industry is very supportive of the new McGowan Government’s infrastructure planning objectives, which will be “crucial in returning the state to growth”.

Iacomella says the state faces significant challenges as the mining boom winds up. House prices are falling, unemployment is at its highest levels since 2002, and the office vacancy rate in Perth stands at 22 per cent.

“Tackling these challenges requires strong leadership, and the property industry looks forward to working with the McGowan Government to deliver taxation and planning reform, identify infrastructure priorities and to boost housing diversity,” Iacomella says.

During the election campaign, Mark McGowan (pictured) promised to establish an independent advisory body of public and private sector representatives to prioritise planning and investment for the next 20 years.

“We have long supported Labor’s plans for Infrastructure WA, which will provide transparent oversight and give the industry the certainty it needs to invest,” Iacomella says.

The Labor Party has promised to retain Development Assessment Panels, has recommitted to the current Perth infill target of 47 per cent and has also promised to focus infill development around train stations – all welcome moves.

A $2.5 billion commitment to the Perth Metronet rail system will “deliver world-class public transport and jobs,” Premier Mark McGowan has promised. Land sales and value capture will fund infrastructure around selected train stations.

Iacomella says the ambitious project will deliver more housing around transport hubs, helping to meet infill targets and drive economic uplift throughout the city.

The new government also promises to cut red tape, with strata reforms expected this year.

“WA's strata titles legislation hasn't been updated since 1985. The Property Council is looking to the new government to move quickly on its commitment to introduce community strata titles to help our industry create better places to live and work.”

Less positive is the McGowan Government’s promised four per cent stamp duty surcharge for residential property to apply from 2019.

“We will seek urgent talks with the new state government about its implementation plans for the stamp duty surcharge to minimise the disruption to local development and investment businesses.”

 “Our industry employs nearly one in five workers in WA, and contributes $31.8 billion each year to Gross State Product. We also pay $6.4 billion in state taxes annually. We look forward to working with the McGowan Government to enable the property industry to keep WA growing, create new jobs and build strong communities,” Iacomella concludes.