Tax relief not tax hikes the answer

The Labor Opposition’s proposal ‘Affordable Homes in Sydney’ contains some ideas that can be welcomed, yet adding taxes to development is the wrong move, according to the Property Council of Australia.
“We all agree that something urgently needs to be done about housing affordability in NSW and industry stands prepared to deliver the homes the state needs,” Property Council Deputy Executive Director Cheryl Thomas said today.

“We cannot have a generation missing out on the opportunity to own their own home, yet placing additional “mandates”, a clever word for taxes, on the development of homes is not the way to go about it.

“We agree the Government should be looking at utilising their own land for affordable housing, yet the suggestion of a 15 per cent affordable housing tax on privately owned land fails to take into account the myriad of levies, taxes and costs placed on development at a Federal, State and Local Government level. Without taking into account these additional costs, there is the real chance that prices will go up under this proposal, worsening the problem,” Ms Thomas said.

“Local councils are currently sitting on about a billion dollars in unspent infrastructure levies and the State Government is sitting on $8 billion in stamp duty revenue – it’s time we saw a proposal to use some of this money for local infrastructure and for tax relief.

“Any affordable housing model needs to incentivise investment rather than act as a disincentive. Height and floor space bonuses as well as tax incentives must be part of any model, as they have been in other parts of the world facing similar challenges.

“The Property Council believes an audit of publicly owned land available for development is a good idea to provide a better idea of what can be accommodated on this land and should be extended to conduct development capacity mapping across Local Government Areas to ensure the current zoning and planning approaches can accommodate the housing Sydney needs.

“At this stage we have a proposal without sufficient consideration of current market conditions and depth in the areas of governance and implementation.

“The Property Council recently released its Five Point Plan for Housing Affordability that contains real, market tested solutions and we look forward to working with both the Government and Opposition on this important issue."

Media contact: William Power| M 0429 210 982 | E wpower@propertycouncil.com.au