South Australia 2017-18 Budget Submission 

As the biggest private sector employer in South Australia, the property industry plays a vital role in driving our State, strengthening the economy, and creating rewarding and sustainable jobs.

The Property Council – as the property industry’s peak body - hears daily about the stresses and roadblocks to success that present themselves for the sector. Through our 11 professional industry committees, we have sought advice and input from those on the front line in preparing this submission for your consideration.

The message from the sector is loud and clear: we need drastic tax reform to boost the profitability and competitiveness of the property industry in South Australia and we need it now.

Recent research by Deloitte has shown that land tax continues to be the most contentious tax for property owners, developers, employers and the sector more generally. South Australia is the most expensive place in Australia to own commercial property due to anti-competitive land tax rates and aggregation. We do not have the luxury of a property sector teaming with institutional investors like Sydney or Melbourne, and are subsequently taxing a very narrow base of predominantly small-private owners. This is a disincentive for investment and growth, and one that simply must be reduced.

Research conducted by the Property Council has shown that stamp duty concessions have boosted confidence in the industry and will lead to an upturn in commercial property sales. However, we believe that the full concession should be brought forward one year to from July 2018 to July 2017, to ensure that the full economic benefits are delivered as quickly as possible to a market hungry for transactional activity.

The Property Council has also spent much of the last 18 months working with industry to combat negative stereotypes and culture surrounding the role of women in a sector that is still widely considered a pretty ‘blokey’ place. As a major employer, it is important that the sector can attract and retain female staff, not only to boost productivity and diversify skills, but also to keep more young South Australians in their home state. We are asking for the government to partner with us in initiatives to make it easier for young women to develop rewarding careers in the property industry.