Queensland turns back on foreign investment

The Queensland Government has reversed its policy on attracting foreign investment in the local housing market, announcing a new 3 per cent surcharge on stamp duty for foreign buyers.

Queensland Executive Director of the Property Council, Chris Mountford, has labelled the announcement a broken promise and a high risk move for Queensland’s fragile economy.

“The Treasurer has previously committed to making Queensland the most attractive state for foreign investment, now he is looking to abandon this competitive advantage in the search for more revenue.”

On May 6 2015, Treasurer Curtis Pitt ruled out any new State taxes targeting foreign property investors in Queensland:

“In the lead up to the election we made it very clear that we wanted to provide certainty to businesses and investors, and that we would not be changing the existing revenue policy settings this term of government,” Mr Pitt said.

“Therefore, we’re ruling out any stamp duty surcharges for foreign investors who purchase a house in Queensland."

“We want to send out a very clear message that Queensland is open for business and that we welcome foreign property investment,” 

Mr Mountford said that the policy reversal will be a significant shock for industry confidence and will place many projects at risk.

“At a time when the Queensland Government’s resource revenue is being drastically written-down, trying to recoup losses from one of the few sectors of the Queensland economy that is currently generating jobs is short-sighted,” Mr Mountford said.

“Our residential development cycle has reached its peak. The Treasurer’s actions are likely to intensify the market’s cooling process, impacting construction work and ultimately jobs over the next 12 months and beyond,”

“Foreign investors enable new residential projects to get off the ground, creating a huge economic benefit for the state and producing new stock that puts downward pressure on rents and keeps housing affordable for Queensland families,” 

“The Treasurer’s commitment to increase the first home buyer incentives is welcome, but they will not be enough to offset the significant impact of this policy reversal,” 

“There are international investors currently weighing up the merits of residential projects in Queensland. If they choose to go elsewhere so will the Government’s revenue.” Mr Mountford said.