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While recognising this year’s state budget reflects a much-needed recommitment by the state government to repay COVID debt and improve Victoria’s longer term financial position, HIA is disappointed the budget does not do more to immediately support Victoria’s vitally important residential building industry.
HIA Executive Director, Victoria, Keith Ryan said the stamp duty reforms for commercial and industrial property are positive and the commitment to abolish stamp duty on business insurance over ten years is also good news.
“In coming years, the retention of stamp duty for residential property will be increasingly difficult to defend. Stamp duty is an inequitable and inefficient tax that also does not provide a reliable revenue stream for governments.
“It would have been better to have residential property included in the reforms announced today. HIA expects that stamp duty will eventually be abolished for all real estate transactions once the budget returns to a surplus.
“While steps to rein in the steep rise in state debt through the COVID Debt Reduction Plan are necessary, large businesses with national payrolls above $10 million a year will shoulder much of the burden through a temporary additional payroll tax until 2033.
Landholders also face higher costs from 1 January 2024 when the tax-free threshold for general land tax rates will decrease for ten years. Those who pay land tax will attract a temporary additional fixed charge up to $975 and the tax rates will temporarily increase by 0.1 per cent for both general and trust taxpayers. The family home will remain exempt. These tax increases will not help housing affordability or the supply of new housing.
“The government hopes these steps, along with other revenue measures, will see the budget return to an operating surplus in 2025/26.
More positive is the budget’s support for small business with the payroll tax-free threshold rising to $900,000 from 1 July 2024, with a further increase to $1 million from 1 July 2025. The government estimates this will save money for more than 26,000 small businesses, including 6,000 businesses that will stop paying payroll tax altogether.
“With a tough budget out of the way, the residential building industry is looking to the Victorian Government to turn its attention to delivering on its commitment to overhaul domestic building contract laws and accelerate planning reforms that keep the momentum of home building activity positive and growing, concluded Mr Ryan.
Last week Craig Smythe from of Adbuild Constructions received HIA Life Membership in recognition of his service to the residential construction industry over the last 35 plus years. He becomes only the third Hunter member to receive this prestigious award.
“The long-discussed move of the University of Tasmania (UTAS) from the Sandy Bay campus presents a real opportunity to ease housing pressures in Greater Hobart,” said Stuart Collins, HIA Executive Director Tasmania.
The Victorian Government has announced it is proposing Regulations that will require building practitioners and plumbers to meet Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements. A Regulatory Impact Statement and proposed regulations has been released for public comment.
HIA commented on the Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) which outlines proposed changes to encourage more low-rise and mid-rise housing (December 2023).