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Message to Property Council Members from the Premier

  

In the space of just a few weeks, as South Australians confront the greatest health and economic challenge of our lifetime, we are all experiencing significant and ongoing change.

From a property perspective, once bustling main streets, malls, office blocks and shopping centres – filled with crowded cafes, restaurants, food courts and retailers – are now eerily quiet, hit hard by necessary trade, travel and social gathering restrictions to try and limit the spread of COVID-19.

We have all witnessed its terrible impact across the globe. And while my Government remains resolute in our determination to do all we can to keep South Australians safe and well, we are also acting decisively to limit the economic fall-out from this pandemic.

To date, we have announced $1 billion in economic stimulus – including an emergency $650 million Jobs Rescue Package – to help secure local jobs and sustain business and industry throughout this period.

This package – which works hand in glove with the Federal Government’s initiatives, including its unprecedented $130 billion JobKeeper program – includes significant payroll and land tax relief for thousands of businesses across the state, as well as the waiving of liquor licence fees for hard-hit hotels, restaurants, cafes and clubs.

From July, our significant land tax reforms will kick in, delivering $189 million in savings to investors and landlords over the next three years.

Under our new measures, individuals and businesses with outstanding quarterly land tax bills for 2019-20 can defer payments for six months. And for 2020-21, Land Tax Transition Fund relief will be increased from 50 per cent to 100 per cent based on existing relief criteria guidelines. This will save some investors $50,000.

The State Government is also in the process of drafting amendments to give effect to the National Cabinet's decision to offer protections to tenants who have suffered financial distress by COVID-19.

Such protections would include a prohibition on rent increases and evictions for rental arrears for a period of six months.

The Government understands the need for certainty for both tenants and landlords and we are working hard to ensure the balance is right.

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s in everyone’s interests for commercial tenants, landlords and their banks to come together to ensure a viable outcome for everyone.

The response of the Australian Banking Association to extend their Small Business Relief Package six month loan deferral - which they say will cover approximately 90 per cent of commercial property owners who have loans  – is welcome, as are moves by some local developers (led by C&G’s Jamie McClurg) to “Suspend the Rent’’ to support vibrant local tenancies in their time of need.

I have spoken personally with many of you over the past few weeks, heard your concerns, and have your Executive Director, Daniel Gannon, as a member of my newly-established Industry Response and Recovery Council – which will help inform our ongoing economic response to this unprecedented crisis.

Please know that my Government is working every single day to not only ensure we stop the spread of this virus, but we emerge stronger and more resilient on the other side.

This won’t last forever.

And if we work together, we will ensure there’s a time in the not-too-distant future, when we can start the recovery process and breathe new life into our much-loved city, suburbs and regional centres.