Federal Budget needs further measures to drive economic recovery while protecting people’s health

The peak body for Australia’s property industry is calling on the Australian Government to begin to reignite one of the biggest engines of economic growth by restarting net overseas migration in a COVID-safe framework.

The Property Council has put forward recommendations around seven job-generating themes as part of its pre-budget submission to protect Australians’ health while also accelerating the nation’s economic recovery.

Chief Executive, Ken Morrison, says the Halton Review lays the groundwork to safely enable a strengthened, expanded and higher capacity quarantine process.

“It is extremely welcome news that the rollout of vaccines in Australia has commenced, however it seems likely that Australia will still require enhanced border arrangements even after the vaccine roll out,” Mr Morrison said.

“We now need to pivot towards a growth agenda. Australia has amassed the expertise and has the capacity to reignite the big economic engine of population growth while simultaneously protecting Australians.

“This means setting concrete plans to upsize border processing and quarantining arrangements so that more people can cross the international border.

“We must consolidate the strengths, immense hard work and leadership that have seen us through this pandemic to date and use them to drive even greater job creation.

“Property has been a pillar of strength throughout the pandemic. Now it’s time to switch gears and let it be a driver of growth during the recovery.”

With the winding back of JobKeeper, JobSeeker and other hugely successful stimulus measures like HomeBuilder, the Property Council argues that industries now need support of a different kind to help rebuild the economy.

“While Australia’s economic recovery is advancing well ahead of earlier projections, the economic road ahead remains very challenging,” Mr Morrison said.

“Measures that support economic activity and job creation are more important than ever.

“As the RBA has shown, population growth is one of Australia’s big economic engines, so safely restarting net overseas migration must now be a priority.

“Enabling stranded Australians to return home must remain a critical focus.

“At the same time, the Australian Government, in conjunction with the states and territories, also needs a carefully managed strategy to resume net overseas migration in a COVID safe framework as vaccines roll out.

“Any failure or delay to safely upscaling current border arrangements risks blowing out the federal budget’s assumptions and holding back the opportunity to recover from this dual health and economic crisis.

“This doesn’t mean throwing open the borders next week, but it does mean a plan to steadily increase international arrivals in a COVID-safe way.

“Australia has a unique opportunity to leverage our enviable reputation for pandemic management by targeting talent, business and export income. We can seize this through safely bringing forward the recommencement of migration.

“We are calling on government to capitalise on Australia’s competitive advantage to attract high-value migrants, including skilled workers and international students, who can help drive economic growth.

“This will have flow-on benefits to multiple high-value sectors in the economy such as agriculture, education and health services which rely heavily on migration.”

In addition to its recommendations around a safe resumption of population growth the Property Council has also put forward recommendations aimed at: lifting productivity through focused reform; prioritising future-focused investments in infrastructure, cities and urban centres; attracting international business; harnessing capital flows; boosting home ownership and working towards a climate resilient net zero emission future.

Read the complete Pre-Budget submission, Changing gears: Switching to a Growth Agenda.

Media contact: Henry Pike M | 0408 406 637 E[email protected]