14/09/2004 - 22:00

Industry seeks commitments

14/09/2004 - 22:00

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With speculation mounting over the date of the next election in Western Australia, the local division of the Property Council has written to the State’s politicians with eight questions it feels embody the key policy issues that affect the property indust

With speculation mounting over the date of the next election in Western Australia, the local division of the Property Council has written to the State’s politicians with eight questions it feels embody the key policy issues that affect the property industry.

A deadline for response has been set for the end of October.

Property Council executive director Joe Lenzo said several independents had responded to the survey so far, but was confident the major parties would respond.

Mr Lenzo said the issues could be broadly grouped into the issues of tax, levies, and development.

“We perceive tax to be the main issue coming into the election. The first three questions deal with new taxes, reduction of land taxes, and the phasing out of stamp duty,” he said.

“It is absolutely vital that no new taxes be introduced.

“Before the last election we sought a commitment that no new taxes be introduced, and that went by the wayside quickly, although it was only last week that the treasurer admitted that if it wasn’t for the property industry, the government’s fiscal position would be in trouble.”

Mr Lenzo said the Property Council was seeking a commitment that parties abolish land tax aggregation.

“”We understand that land tax is an important revenue raiser, however we are asking for the aggregation of land tax to be removed,” he said.

“We are also asking that parties also commit to using GST revenues for the progressive phasing out of commercial property stamp duty in WA within two years of being elected.”

The council is also asking parties to commit to not implementing developer levies. It also wants compensation for property owners for loss of rights resulting from environmental and heritage protection.

“Places like NSW have heavy developer levies, and developers already contribute large amounts of funds and land to support public infrastructure. A developer levy would just be another burden on the property industry,” Mr Lenzo told WA Business News.

“We support the concept of maintaining the environment and heritage, but believe that if it is in the community’s interest to maintain those things, payment for them should come from the community, not property owners.”

The final three questions relate to maintaining government funding contributions for fire and emergency services in WA, amending the Strata Titles Act, and creating a new cabinet portfolio responsibility to represent ‘capital city Perth’.

“Under current Strata Title legislation, all property owners need to agree to refurbish or demolish a strata,” Mr Lenzo said.

“There are a number of buildings that need attention, but it is problematic when only a very small minority don’t agree to fix things.”

He said there was a minister for every region in the State, and that the Property Council believed there should also be a ‘Perth Capital City minister’.

The Property Council says it will release the results when all the information has been collated.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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