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Property industry can help kickstart economic recovery

Australia’s leaders have taken decisive action in response to coronavirus which has protected Australians from the terrible health outcomes seen in other countries.

But this has also taken a toll on our economy, the effects of which are still largely unknown.

In response, The Property Council says the industry should play an important role in Australia’s economy recovery and ongoing prosperity and has presented a seven-point plan to the National Cabinet to help stimulate economic recovery and secure long term prosperity.

Incentives for new housing construction, broad-based tax reform, improving the supply of affordable housing, and the renewal of our migration program are among the key areas for action.

“Some big and bold thinking is required to get the Australian economy going again after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“As Australia’s biggest employer which contributes over 13 per cent of GDP, the property industry can be a powerhouse behind economic recovery and growth with the right policy settings and market incentives from the federal, state and territory governments,” Mr Morrison said.

The Property Council has published a comprehensive seven-point plan to stimulate construction, grow skills, attract investment and boost confidence across the industry. It includes recommendations for:

  • $50,000 ‘New Home Boost’ scheme to kickstart construction for new housing, generate jobs and boost consumer confidence with the potential to stimulate construction of 50,000 new dwellings, supporting more than 200,000 jobs, by bringing forward market demand for new housing. State and territory governments could initiate additional demand stimulus through first home buyer grants, stamp duty and foreign investor surcharge relief.
  • Broad-based tax reform to enhance productivity and increase living standards, including the abolition of stamp duty and replacing this revenue by broadening the GST base in the medium term; retain existing negative gearing and capital gains tax settings; targeted tax relief and no increases to existing taxes and charges for 12 months; and removal of foreign tax surcharges to encourage international investment.
  • Improved housing affordability through permanent improvements to planning systems by efficiently and strategically rezoning and servicing land, accelerating non-government projects currently in the planning system, supporting the emergence of Build-to-Rent, incentivising the private sector to produce more affordable housing for key workers, older Australians and those at risk of homelessness, supporting a new pipeline of retirement living housing and removing disincentives for older Australians to downsize.
  • A ‘Welcome to Australia’ migration plan that helps to provide the skills, people and population growth our economy needs through friendly but highly secure testing, isolation and tracing arrangements for international arrivals, to protect public health and facilitate economically-important travel; a major international advertising campaign promoting Australia as a safe and healthy destination to visit, study, work and make a new life; target temporary visa classes that can make an immediate and positive impact on economic growth; and, incentives for permanent skilled migration.

The plan includes recommendations to attract international investment through accelerated Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approvals, and the removal of counter-productive foreign tax surcharges for commercial property and new developments.

The Property Council has also called on the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to support the fast-tracking of property and infrastructure projects from the public and private sectors that have the greatest potential to catalyse further economic growth.

This includes the prioritisation of government property projects that will catalyse further urban renewal and private sector investment, as well as fast-tracking surplus government land disposal to stimulate further activity, urban renewal and investment.

full summary of the Property Council’s recommendations is available here.

Download the full Property Council’s Seven-Point Plan for Economic Recovery.

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