Record infrastructure spend requires talent attraction push
[12 May 2022] Today’s State Budget has announced a record infrastructure investment, with $33.9 billion to be invested into the Asset Investment Program over the next four years. This represents an almost 50 per cent increase on the previous four years. A substantial $14.3 billion over the four years to 2025-26 will be spent on road, rail and transport infrastructure.
Property Council WA Executive Director, Sandra Brewer, has cautioned that the boost to public investment will severely impact the ability of the private sector to deliver critical housing and development projects with labour availability already at critical levels.
“The government’s plan to increase investment in infrastructure and job creation, without a robust plan to grow the population and attract critical workers, will increase pressure on an employment market which is already at capacity.
“As highlighted by the budget, WA already has the highest participation rate in the country and an unemployment rate of 3.4 per cent.
“There are already 1.29 jobs available for each unemployed West Australian, adding additional pressure to an already at capacity labour market. The likely outcome is wage inflation, project cost escalation and the private and public sectors competing for workers.
“Population growth is the fuel to drive the WA economy forward and investment to attract workers will be crucial to the ongoing economic success of the state.
“Last year the Premier convened a Skills Summit with industry aimed at addressing WA’s skills shortage. Given the ongoing need, now is the time for a Skills Summit 2.0,” Ms Brewer said.
Positively, the State Budget announced land tax reform to support an emerging build to rent industry in WA, a measure the Property Council have advocated for since 2020. The new 50 per cent land tax concession for eligible build to rent developments, commencing on 1 July 2023 will be essential to adding much needed rental stock to the WA housing market.
“Today’s announced 50 per cent land tax concession for build to rent projects is an extremely positive move,” Ms Brewer said.
“WA desperately needs more rental stock and build to rent is the ultimate shovel ready project to add new rental product to the market.
“We look forward to working with the state government to deliver this important tax reform initiative.”
The Property Council has also welcomed a range of other initiatives announced including:
- A doubling of the Industrial Land Development Fund, taking the fund to $100 million.
- The permanent change to Keystart thresholds and the new Keystart pilot program for METRONET and priority infill sites.
- The introduction of a 100 per cent off-the-plan stamp duty rebate for apartments valued up to $500,000 from 1 June 2022.
- $79 million in CBD investment; and
- International student attraction measures, including new scholarship programs and incentive payments for international student agents who attract students to WA.
Media contact: Emily Young | P 0475 161 328 | E [email protected]