Property Council welcomes ACT budget of Housing and land supply and infrastructure but now without concerns
The Property Council of Australia has praised the ACT Government for a Budget with a focus on housing supply and infrastructure – both key asks of the property sector - but has flagged several concerns as the region rebounds from the pandemic.
Property Council’s ACT Executive Director Adina Cirson said the focus on job creation and infrastructure investment was welcomed, but there was still major housing affordability and land supply issues, coupled with a tightening employment market and lack of investment in skills and training.
“We hope the commitment to boost housing and land supply – and some significant commitments to getting Build-to-Rent to Canberra, really start to make a difference to the housing crisis we are in right now,” Ms Cirson said.
“It's great to see our population really start to grow positively again, but with that comes added housing pressure. We need to make sure the building and construction sector is turbo charged and able to deliver to meet the housing pressures of a growing and ageing population.
“We hope additional investment in planning reform, resourcing and digitisation will help.”
Ms Cirson said we needed a targeted strategy aimed at both attracting the skills we need to keep up with the housing pressures we are facing.
“It means we need the right people with the right skills to keep up with housing demand. Whether that is attracting those skills or growing our own talent, what we need right now is a laser like focus on those constraints that the government has indicated today are holding us back,” she said.
“But let's not lose focus on making sure the settings are right to be certain we are an attractive place to live, study, work, invest and do business in – including that taxes are fair and sustainable – not just used to recover the bottom line.
Ms Cirson said significantly growing revenue was being garnished across both the residential and commercial sectors through rates and stamp duty – acting as key disincentives to invest and do business in an economy that needs to continue to diversify.
“The biggest inhibitor to increased private sector activity and investment continues to be rates, taxes and charges,” she said.
“What we know from ten years of tax reform here in the Territory that the commercial sector has been the last to benefit from any meaningful cuts to stamp duty and given we are not expected to see commercial thresholds lifted until 2025-26 – our sector continues to be double taxed.
“Whilst this a budget for the times, and we are grateful for the focus on housing and infrastructure – we must ensure we continue we innovate to attract investment and jobs here.
Today’s budget shows that Canberra has held its own after many significant challenges, with low unemployment, increased activity and growth which is performing well against other cities,” she said.
“But it will remain key to focus on the broad and long-term concerns and not just the immediate challenges we face,” Ms Cirson concluded.
Media contact: Adina Cirson | [email protected]