Home Property Australia ACT Budget a ‘mixed bag’

ACT Budget a ‘mixed bag’

  • June 26, 2024
  • by Property Australia
ACT Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr delivered his 13th ACT Budget yesterday

Yesterday the Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr handed down the ACT Budget with more than $285 million in funding for housing initiatives including $118 million to boost social housing assistance and homelessness services.

The Budget also includes $80 million for planning initiatives to strengthen housing choice and quality, $67 million to extend the Rent Relief Fund and expanding a range of stamp duty concessions and exemptions, and an extra $20 million for the Affordable Housing Project Fund.

Other initiatives outlined in the budget include the release of a range of greenfield and infill sites over the next five years to support the development of 21,422 new homes. In 2024-25 alone, land will be released for another 5,107 dwellings. 

The Property Council of Australia said the ACT Budget offers a mixed bag but with missed opportunities for a more vibrant and faster growing Canberra.

Property Council of Australia Interim ACT and Capital Region Executive Director Gino Luglietti said the last Territory Budget before the October election had been an opportunity for the Barr Government to set a clear course for growth into 2025 and beyond.

“This is two thirds of the Budget we needed, and it’s certainly not the bold kind of a Budget one would expect in the lead up to an historic election,” Mr Luglietti said.
“Some obvious and important omissions include tax reform, overdue zoning updates, and a new Canberra Stadium.

“Another significant downside is a new payroll tax surcharge for larger national and multi-national businesses. This sends a bad signal to larger employers who may have had plans to expand or invest for the first time in the ACT,” he said.

Mr Luglietti said the success of tomorrow’s Canberra depends on the success of the property, development and built environment sector.

“We needed a Budget laser-focused on growth to provide more homes for a massive population boom in the coming years.

“While a commitment of $285 million on housing, planning and infrastructure is welcome, this Budget needed more of a sense of urgency behind residential zoning reforms, a better resourced and more efficient planning system, tax reforms to drive more investment, and faster infrastructure build.”

Mr Luglietti said all eyes will now be on the parties’ plans going into the October Election.

“We need to create a more balanced and diversified tax system that makes the ACT the best place for investment and business, one which provides more transparency and certainty, particularly around the growth in general rates and commercial property rates. Increasing payroll tax on larger companies over the next two years will only make doing business in the ACT harder.

“This is a make-or-break year for future of the ACT. The decisions taken in this Budget, and at the ballot box in October, will determine whether we enter 2025 with a running start on growth or with more hill to climb,” Mr Luglietti said.
To support the development of affordable rental stock, the Budget also includes the introduction of the Affordable Community Housing Land Tax Exemption Scheme, providing a land tax exemption for property owners who rent their property through a registered community housing provider at affordable rates.

The Home Buyer Concession Scheme income eligibility threshold will increase from $170,000 to $250,000, and the additional income allowance per child will increase from $3,330 to $4,600 from 1 July 2024.

People fleeing family violence will be able to access the Home Buyer Concession Scheme regardless of their previous property holdings or the income of the alleged perpetrator from 1 July 2024.

Additionally, from 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2025, the RZ1 Unit Duty Exemption Scheme will be extended and increased to 100 per cent duty concessions on off-the-plan units up to a property value of $1 million.

The existing Disability Duty Concession Scheme and Pensioner Duty Concession Scheme will also be extended from 1 July 2024 to provide a full stamp duty concession on the first $1 million of property value.

Finally, from 1 July 2025, a new Severe Disability Duty Exemption will be introduced to support people with severe disabilities and their carers in finding a home.

The Budget also included an $8 billion Infrastructure Investment Program over the five years to 2028-29.