A moratorium on all taxes, fees and charges related to the building of new private homes should be established by the South Australian Government to further bolster the state’s ailing economy, a leading SA industry lobby group urged today.
The move – which should include those charges applied by local government – would abolish up to 30% of the total cost of building a new home, the Civil Contractors Federation of Australia (SA branch) has calculated.
Commenting on the State Government’s Mid-Year Budget Review released yesterday, Civil Contractors Federation of Australia (SA branch) CEO, Mr Phil Sutherland, said he was pleased the Weatherill Government had heeded the CCF’s call to “build, build and build our way out of a poor economy”.
“We now encourage the Government to go a step further and establish a moratorium for a defined period on all private housing related taxes, fees and charges, including those applicable to local government,” Mr Sutherland said.
“Such taxes, fees and charges – which can total up to 30% of the cost of a new home – are a massive impost to people wanting to realise the great Australian dream of building their own home,” he said.
“The moratorium – for a defined period of time – would be the spark that would further ignite the local home building construction industry.
“In concert with the State Government’s strategy to build 1000 public housing houses in 1000 days, the moratorium would be just the medicine this state needs to get the economy moving again.”
Mr Sutherland said the SA Government’s impending privatisation of a public asset like the Motor Accident Commission – and the reinvestment of those funds into productive infrastructure and economic stimulus and job creation strategies – should be roundly applauded.
He said such a strategy was behind the CCF’s recent call to sell SA Water and free up more than $ 4 billion to invest in key state infrastructure projects.
“In a period of low private investment in infrastructure, high unemployment and a beleaguered economy, public investment in infrastructure – including the construction of public housing – is a proven mechanism to create jobs and stimulate the economy more broadly,” Mr Sutherland said.
“However, the State Government has few economic levers at its disposal,” he said.
“Public investment in infrastructure including public housing is one such lever. Putting a numerical number on the homes to be built – together with a time frame around when they needed to be completed – is a good way of maximizing the potential of this government spend.
“Private investment in residential housing is at a historical low.
“The Government’s public housing stimulus program will to some extent make up for this, and is very welcome by those businesses involved in the housing and building sectors.
“The strategy should assist in sustaining this sector during this slow economy.”
The CCF pointed to the SA Government’s “preoccupation with reducing debt and deficits” and warned that striving to deliver surpluses in the worst performing economy in the nation “doesn’t count for much”.
That said, Mr Sutherland said the government should be applauded for its focus on “investment attraction”, growing the economy and creating jobs which was “just the medicine our slow economy requires if we are going to see an upturn sooner than later”.
“The Government’s acknowledgement that SA is an economy in transition and requiring unprecedented public investment in strategies designed to make SA an attractive destination for interstate and foreign investment, implementing measures designed to stimulating the economy more broadly, and job creation strategies, are critical and need to be fully embraced,” Mr Sutherland said.