A Budget for hard hats and steel caps

The Property Council of Australia has described the State Budget as a budget for hard hats and steel caps.

SA Executive Director of the Property Council Daniel Gannon said the State Government has adopted several key Property Council policy initiatives.

“The metaphor for this Budget is very clear – it’s about hard hats and steel caps,” said Mr Gannon.

“If you’re a builder, tradie, an engineer, architect or developer, it’s time to get comfortable wearing your hard hats and steel caps as there are a lot of infrastructure projects in the 2016-17 Budget.

KEY INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

  • $250m building and upgrading STEM facilities at 139 government schools
  • $250m low interest loan program to upgrade facilities at non-government schools
  • $50m commitment to extend the CBD tramline to the East End
  • $40m commitment to upgrade sporting facilities
  • $35m commitment to upgrade arts facilities
  • $12m commitment to regional airport upgrades

TAX ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Off-the-plan stamp duty concession extended and expanded statewide
  • Foreign investment taxes ruled out

E-PLANNING

The Property Council of Australia has secured $24.8 million over four years in State Budget funding to modernise South Australia’s planning system.

“Planning reform is one of the most important triggers that will enable the property sector to unlock growth opportunities,” said Mr Gannon.

“The provision of $24.8 million for the establishment of an e-planning system is not a luxury or an indulgence – it’s a necessity for modernised development pathways.

“The current planning system is like using a fax machine at a time when we have modern cloud-based technologies.

“Under this upgrade, when mums and dads choose to renovate their home or sub-divide their block, they will be able to access the information they need in a timely and modern manner rather than the onerous and lethargic system that’s currently in place.”

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

The Property Council of Australia has successfully lobbied the Government to rule out extra taxes on foreign investors in the State Budget and created a point of difference with the eastern seaboard.

“Today’s announcement means South Australia will not be joining New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria in imposing surcharges on foreign investment,” said Mr Gannon.

“The message to investors is now very clear: if you want to pay lower taxes on property transactions, then invest in South Australia.

LAND TAX

“Land tax reform remains a high priority for the Property Council, and while it hasn’t happened this year, we will keep applying pressure to make our system more competitive,” said Mr Gannon.

South Australia’s current land tax regime punishes commercial property owners, which has an adverse impact on jobs and investment in this State. Not only that, it also punishes the community more broadly as most South Australians have property investment interests through their superannuation funds. Its narrow base – but high rate – also ensures that certain property investments are relatively less attractive than other types of investments.

PUBLIC SECTOR

The State Government has heeded the Property Council’s calls for public sector wage reform by capping wage growth to 4.5% over three years, or 1.5% per year.

As the business sector knows, wage growth in the public sector is out of step with commercial reality.

We note the State Government’s plans to commercialise some functions within the Lands Titles Office and will be advocating strongly to Government the importance of ensuring transaction fees are not increased and the integrity of the system remains in place.

ECONOMIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PROPERTY SECTOR

Please see below statistics about the importance of property to the South Australian economy:

  • Property is South Australia’s largest private sector employer and biggest industry
  • It accounts for 10.8% of the state’s economic activity (or $10.5 billion)
  • It builds prosperity by paying $4.4 billion in wages and salaries – one in six people draw their wage directly or indirectly from property
  • One million South Australians have a stake in property through their super funds
  • Property is the largest single industry contributor paying 56.6% of state taxes, local government rates, fees and charges


Media contact: 
Daniel Gannon | E dgannon@propertycouncil.com.au