Dual horizon budget delivers relief for growing community
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet’s second NSW Budget handed down today addresses the growing pains many in the community are feeling by investing heavily in long term transport, health and education projects, but bold reforms to deliver improved housing affordability seem to have fallen off the agenda, according to Property Council of Australia.
A strong surplus of $3.9 billion in 2017-18 and tight expenditure in forward years has produced a budget that ensures the short-term cost of living concerns of many in the community can be addressed while still supporting long term growth.
“Treasurer Perrottet’s second budget boosts support for our growing communities and locks in long term growth and investment; it provides support for those communities that are feeling the pressures of growth with welcome investment in schools, hospitals and initiatives to improve access to open space and parklands to enhance liveability,” Property Council NSW Deputy Executive Director Cheryl Thomas said today.
“An additional $6 billion over the next four years will deliver 170 new and upgraded schools and an additional $2.3 billion invested in hospitals will help ensure growing communities get the social infrastructure they need.”
Three billion for West Metro and $258 million to start construction on the Parramatta light rail are city shaping infrastructure investments and will support the “good growth” of Sydney’s west.
“Overall it is a strong fiscal outcome; a good, disciplined budget,” Ms Thomas said.
“There is, however, a notable absence. There is nothing in today’s budget to bolster the achievement of the Premier’s objective to see 61,000 houses built annually in NSW to 2021. It is a major challenge to achieve these numbers and requires continued support,” Ms Thomas said.
“We mustn’t lose our focus on providing enough homes for our growing population – this requires a long-term policy commitment, not a flash-in-the-pan “one time” policy focus.
“We also need more to be done to address the increasing cost of housing construction, especially the rise in local infrastructure costs which can add more than 10 per cent to the cost of new housing. These cumulative costs push up prices and without the intervention of the State Government, this will continue.”
Ms Thomas said a cohesive, long term housing strategy to support the State’s growing population should also include support for the establishment of a Build-to-Rent sector.
“We will continue to strongly advocate government support to get Build-to-Rent up and running to provide secure, high quality housing for the growing number of people in our community who rent.”
Ms Thomas said with softening stamp duty revenue, expected to drop by $6 billion in the coming four years, the Treasurer should now turn his attention to tax reform.
“Every economist agrees that stamp duty is a terrible tax, yet the revenue it produces must be replaced if it is reformed or changed. We have an ambitious and forward-looking Treasurer; this budget proves this – now it’s time to take on some of the tough reforms that will ensure our state economy is not held at ransom by the cycles of the property market.
“We congratulate the Treasurer on his second budget and look forward to working with the Government in the year ahead.”
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