The Property Council of Australia today welcomed the NSW Budget 2021-22 as critical to cement the strong foundations set by the Berejiklian Government to secure NSW’s economic and social recovery from the depths of the COVID pandemic.
Property Council of Australia NSW Executive Director Jane Fitzgerald said the Government had done a great job steering NSW through the biggest social and economic threat it has faced in decades.
“This is a strong, future focussed budget that continues to deliver for NSW,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“The clear focus on reform and boosting productivity is the right policy setting to secure growth, jobs and productivity out of the COVID recession.
“It is particularly pleasing to see the Treasurer’s commitment to report to Parliament every six months on progress in relation to the 60 recommendations recently made by NSW Productivity Commissioner, Peter Achterstraat AM in his White Paper.”
Ms Fitzgerald said the Treasurer’s declaration that NSW is back on track following the shocks of COVID was great news for NSW families, businesses and the State’s economy.
“There is no doubt that the NSW Government has set the gold standard for pandemic management across this nation – in both health and economic terms,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“The budget builds on the stimulus initiatives of the past year, invests in forward looking initiatives like electric vehicles and applies other targeted stimulus to areas of need like the Sydney CBD.”
Ms Fitzgerald cautioned that on the critical issues of housing supply and housing affordability the budget is modest in its ambition.
“While there is a small amount of funding for 20,000 rezonings, housing supply is already at a critical low,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“The recent Intergenerational Report outlined that 42,000 homes are needed each and every year to deal with future demand and the budget does not facilitate this pipeline.
“This is the next big challenge the Premier and Treasurer need to tackle.”
Ms Fitzgerald said the budget’s support for infrastructure contribution reform was a key initiative that if delivered well would boost growth, speed up housing supply and better match funding to need.
“Infrastructure contributions have been a mess in NSW for way too long,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“The legislation unveiled today is an important next step in driving the reform plan developed over the past year.
“While there is still a long way to go, NSW is finally on the path to a more transparent, consistent, fair and affordable contributions system.”
Ms Fitzgerald said the Property Council strongly supports the following initiatives:
- $179.9 million to continue the NSW Planning Reform Action Plan to improve the timeliness, transparency and certainty of the State’s planning system,
- $139.3 million to expand the Accelerated Infrastructure Fund (AIF) into its second iteration. The AIF was established following strong advocacy from the Property Council in the first half of 2020. It will provide funding to more Councils in high growth areas to support construction activity and the release of new homes and employment zones in new greenfield sites,
- $1.15bn for the new Bradfield City Centre in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis,
- $50m in stimulus to entice 500,000 office workers back to Sydney’s CBD through the issue of $100 vouchers to be used exclusively on Fridays in the 2000 postcode. This initiative was a key plank of the Property Council’s COVID recovery plan,
- $4.9m for 30 new building inspectors, a doubling of the number from 30. This is a welcome move to help restore confidence in the unit market.
Ms Fitzgerald said the budget also continues the proud record the Government has on infrastructure delivery.
“The continued record $108.5b infrastructure spend is applauded for its hugely positive impact and the recent announcements about transformational projects like West Metro and the second stage of Parramatta Light Rail are to be congratulated,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
Ms Fitzgerald said the budget also highlighted the challenge Treasurer Perrottet faces in his quest to reform state taxes.
“The record $9.3 billion in stamp duty receipts highlights how addicted the State is to this inefficient tax,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“It will take complex fiscal gymnastics to remove this tax, achieve the positive benefits its removal would bring and ensure continued strong revenue receipts.
“The Property Council has played an engaged, positive and active role in the debate to date – and will continue to do in the next phase of the consultation.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for state tax reform and the Treasurer is to be applauded for not leaving it in the too hard basket even though the path to reform is a steep one.”