Infrastructure and housing focus in WA Budget welcomed but opportunity missed to boost foreign investment

The 2018/19 WA Budget includes a welcome boost to infrastructure funding and planning for infill housing but an opportunity was missed to attract much needed foreign investment with the increase in the proposed foreign stamp duty surcharge.

“The Property Council welcomes the commitments in the Budget to fund the METRONET precincts plan in Perth and the associated METRONET housing package.  This is important for the station precincts to be established and attract private investment.

“Linking the government’s public housing investment plan with METRONET is a smart move.  This answers questions from industry about how some of the more marginal station precincts can be established with a diversity of housing options.

“The funding commitment to establish Infrastructure WA is also welcomed.  Infrastructure WA is urgently needed to guide WA’s $6.2 billion infrastructure program.

“The $233 million funding commitment for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road will ease congestion and enable growth in the greater Bunbury region to be properly planned, and establish Bunbury as WA’s second capital city.   

“It was also pleasing that the WA Government kept its commitment to not increase land taxes and stamp duty for local buyers.  This was important to maintain confidence in WA’s property markets, which are showing signs of emerging from a long slump.

“However the Government missed an opportunity in the Budget to incentivise the market recovery.

“WA has the lowest proportion of foreign investment in residential property in Australia and the opportunity was missed to attract more foreign investment by holding off on the increase in the stamp duty surcharge for foreigners to 7% in the Budget.

“The Budget also missed an opportunity to incentivise right-sizing housing choices for seniors through targeted stamp duty relief.

“Overall this is a steady budget with a strong infrastructure focus to encourage private investment in the METRONET precincts plan in Perth and key regional centres.  This is under-pinned by a welcome commitment to reduce the Budget deficit and begin the process to bring down state debt.

“Central to the Budget’s success in achieving the bold infrastructure objectives will be a further commitment to progress with WA’s asset sale program, including the sale of Landgate, the TAB which are identified in the Budget”, said Mr Iacomella.