In the Palaszczuk Government’s first budget, the property industry proved to be the white knight, with stamp duty revenues of $3.14 billion in 2014-15, providing a windfall of $487 million over and above last year’s Budget estimate.
Pleasingly, the Treasurer maintained his commitment to no new or increased taxes, fees or charges- a welcome change for the property industry, which contributes more in State Government taxation revenue than any other industry.
However, unless the State embraces innovative infrastructure solutions, there is a risk that the $35 billion committed to infrastructure over the next four years will see Queensland left behind the infrastructure-rich state of NSW.
As announced in the media, the introduction of a market-led (unsolicited) proposals framework will allow the property industry to bring forward innovative ideas to assist the Government in delivering infrastructure and making better use of its assets.
Another positive measure will see the reprioritisation of the $59.4 million uncommitted balance of the Priority Development Infrastructure (PDI) Co-Investment Program redirected to establish a new Catalyst Infrastructure Program.
While little information is available at this stage, the Program will be set up to invest in infrastructure that unlocks development and creates construction and long term employment. The Property Council is hopeful that part of the funding will be directed towards a trial of the successful ‘UK City Deals’
project in South East Queensland.
$10.1 billion allocated to infrastructure funding in 2015-16, including both new and existing projects:
- $3.9 billion on roads and transport
- $607 million on education and training
- $2.4 billion on energy and water
- $1.3 billion on health and community, including a $500 million state-wide schools and hospitals fund
- $20.2 million directed to the establishment of Building Queensland- an independent authority established to provide expert advice on infrastructure priorities.
The Government maintained its commitment to no new taxes, fees or charges. Only those subject to indexation will increase over the year ahead.
The first home owner’s grant will be retained in its current format.
The planning reform agenda has received a significant boost, with additional funding of $59.4 million provided over five years to 2018-19.
$15 million in funding over three years has been allocated to the establishment of the Local Government Coastal Hazard Climate Adaptation Fund, and the development and implementation of the new Queensland Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
Establishment of the Queensland Productivity Commission
Increased funding has been allocated to transition the Office of Best Practice Regulation into the Queensland Productivity Commission.
The Commission will undertake independent in-depth reviews of complex economic, industry and regulatory issues.
Source: News Release, Property Council of Australia, 16 July, 2015