Property industry cannot be the answer to all of Treasury’s problems, says Property Council

After speaking to The Daily Telegraph this week to float the idea of increasing foreign tax surcharges, the Treasurer revealed a second proposal to transfer the onus of funding the state’s emergency services from the insurance industry to the property sector.

“This has been a terrible week for industry, in which the Treasurer has sadly shown a reluctance to listen to property experts,” Property Council NSW Executive Director Katie Stevenson said.

“In the midst of a housing crisis that is crippling our state and forcing our young people across borders in search of a home, the Treasurer is proposing to create new obstacles for the property sector that will make developing in NSW even more difficult and less attractive.

“You cannot expect us to build more homes than we’ve ever built before, while simultaneously creating an environment that is increasingly hostile to investment.

“Whether capital comes from at home or overseas, we need to be removing barriers to the creation of homes in our state. The property industry cannot afford to be government’s scapegoat.”

Ms Stevenson has been appointed to a stakeholder reference group to advise the NSW Government on how to reform the way emergency services are funded in the state. NSW is currently the only state that funds its emergency services through a levy on insurance premiums.

In a media release yesterday that announced a discussion paper on proposed approaches to these reforms, the Treasurer claimed: “The NSW Government last November announced the levy would be removed from insurance and applied instead to property”. That was not the case.

The sector is disappointed as we have engaged in this policy development process in good faith. Discussion was entered on an understanding that no decisions had been made and everything was on the table to develop a fairer and more sustainable state-wide system for funding our vital emergency services.

The need for emergency services is borne from a much wider range of incidents than those related to property, yet this doesn’t seem to have been considered. Any reform needs to justly consider the causes and propose a balanced solution.

“The two ideas floated this week are non-sensical in the midst of a housing crisis,” said Ms Stevenson. “They work directly against the Premier’s stated priority of delivering more homes to tackle this crisis and meet our National Housing Accord targets.

“Now is the worst possible time to be proposing taxes and charges that will make housing more difficult to deliver, more expensive and drive much-needed investment interstate.”

/Public Release. View in full here.