Big ideas for kick-starting the property sector

The Queensland property industry will lobby the Palaszczuk Government for a $600 million infrastructure injection to help lay the groundwork for the sector’s rebuild.

Property Council chief executive Chris Mountford said new residential developments often stalled for years as local council, the State and developers argued over who should pay for infrastructure such as roads, water supply and drainage.

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The Property Council, Housing Industry Association (HIA) and the Urban Development Institute Australia (UDIA) have joined forces to lobby the government for the establishment of a new $500 million fund to supercharge catalyst infrastructure investment, with a further $100 million to be injected into the state’s existing program.

In a post COVID-19 world, industry experts say it will play a critical role in revitalising the state’s regional economies.

UDIA Queensland chief executive Kirsty Chessher-Brown said it made sense for the government to align the funding with projects that would enable development in high-growth and priority development areas identified in existing regional plans.

In Townsville, Lendlease and the Queensland Government have invested $31.5 million into the delivery of the Elliot Springs development project over the past three years, with the state offering $15 million in interest-free loans. This allowed for upgrades to the Bruce Highway, installation of a sewer line, with associated pump stations at Cleveland Bay. So far the project has created 365 full-time jobs.

Mike Roberts, the executive director of the HIA Queensland, said that the existing catalyst infrastructure program had proven to be incredibly powerful in stimulating regional economies.

“It makes sense to strengthen and leverage from these existing initiatives to expedite our recovery.”

Mr Roberts also identified the abolition of stamp duty as a priority, a solution the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has also campaigned for and now says is imperative.

REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella said the institute was lobbying the government hard for reform of the property tax.

“We think stamp-duty, at a minimum level, should be lifted during COVID-19, but there is a desperate need to reassess it on a permanent basis,” Ms Mercorella said.

“Stamp duty not only adds a significant amount to the upfront cost of buying a home but it has an additional financial cost in terms of mortgage repayments,” she said.

Reforming the tax would boost consumer confidence, she said, offsetting any predicted long-term effects of COVID-19 and helping to maintain economic stability across the state.

INDUSTRY DEMANDS AT A GLANCE

• Allocate $500 million to new catalyst infrastructure

• Boost existing catalyst infrastructure by $100 million

• Abolish or reform stamp duty

Source: realestate.com.au