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Council role affirmed

THE Property Council of Australia’s role in economic, industrial and legislative reform has recently been reaffirmed in our dealings with the WA Government.

In response to our pre-budget solutions statement submitted to the Government in April, Premier Richard Court said his Government would review stamp duty rates after the first year of the GST.

This would follow an evaluation of the budgetary effect of the new tax system.

The Premier said: “Nonetheless, the Government will closely monitor the impact of GST on State revenues, and will assess the scope for adjusting tax rates after the first year of the GST”.

We intend to keep a close watch on this commitment when it falls due about this time next year.

We will also monitor the WA Government to ensure it observes the original intent of the GST – which was to rid the economy of inefficient taxes that retarded business in Australia.

We are pleased to report that the WA Government has adopted other Property Council recommendations on heritage and building legislation.

In particular, the Premier responded to our calls for reform of building liability and minimum insurance standards.

“The drafting of instructions for a Building Bill recently approved by Cabinet does contain liability reform proposals consistent with the recommendations of the Property Council,” he said.

The Premier further agreed to Property Council recommendations for amendments to the Heritage Bill 1999.

He said “some limited amendments made to the Heritage Bill accommodate the Property Council’s concerns, including the extent of works which can be made the subject of conservation orders”.

However, the Property Council has identified areas where additional and continued advocacy is required to progress deregulation of the electricity market, to restructure land tax and to remove stamp duty on GST-inclusive prices.

l Joe Lenzo is executive director of the WA Branch of the Property Council of Australia.

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