b'JULY 2020ContentsTax reform and the Property market 3Stamp Duty vs Broad based Land Tax .6Housing Affordability and Affordable Housing Levies .12Tom Forrest Urban Taskforce Recommendations to Chief Executive Officer NSW Productivity Commission Review .20Urban Taskforce AustraliaIntroduction The Planning System Acceleration Program was launched to push a series of tranches of projects through the planning Urban Ideas has a proud history of informing public debatesystem to stimulate private sector activity, jobs by exposing ideas which might not immediately appeal.and employment.Public policy is never changed easily. Yet the COVID-19 crisisThe NSW Treasurer and Minister for Planning announced the has seen a shift in mood.appointment of Peter Achterstraat AM, the NSW Productivity At the end of 2019, I felt that there was a mood ofCommissioner (and former NSW Auditor General) to conduct complacency among policy makers in NSW. This is a mooda review of infrastructure fees, taxes and charges. This which develops after an extended period of growth. Theprocess was originally going to be completed by the end of property market seemed to have come through a minor2020, but concern about the urgent need for policy change slump. The Department of Planning and Greater Sydneyto stimulate investment saw the deadline brought forward Commission seemed unconcerned that planning approvalsto September. Further, Mr Achterstraat advised that he had dropped off. It was acknowledged in November 2019was keen to examine the cumulative impact of all fees and that planning reform was needed to speed up the planningcharges on development and investment in the Greater systembut this was conveniently put off till 2020.Sydney market.Then came the horror season of bush-fires. It is notThis is the background to this special edition of Urban Ideas. surprising that planning reform was pushed back on theThe relationship between the tax system, the funding of political agenda. Those horrendous fireswhich blightedCouncils, community infrastructure, economic infrastructure, and terrorised our State for five months were, ironically,affordable housing, parks and open spaces is examined. followed by floodsagain requiring the attention of policyDuring the good times, no-one outside the property makers and Government. development community thought much about the cumulative By mid-February, the spread of COVID-19 was starting toimpact of these fees and charges. Home prices were rising, dominate local media. By March, it was hard to get thebut the focus on affordability had long since dropped away media or public to focus on anything else. Late in March, afrom the declaration of policy primacy in early 2017.pandemic was declared and our world changed. COVID-19 has brought the economy back to the top of the Suddenly, all policy makers who were not immediatelypolicy agenda. The impact of inefficient taxes is real. The involved in managing the public health crisis, were thinkingunintended consequences of well-intentioned policy makers about the economic impact of the closedown of so much ofare only revealed when the economy is under stress. Today, the State. In retrospect, many will wish they had reformedthe economy is under stress.policy in the planning space earlier so a pipeline of projectsUrban Taskforce has prepared an initial submission to the was already approved and it was just a case of offeringNSW Productivity Commissions review. The recommendations some support to get those projects going to lessen thewe have made are detailed at the end of this edition of impact of COVID-19 closedown induced recession. Urban Ideas. That said, Governments across Australia acted fast.The relationship between the property market and the CashBoost supported small and medium sized enterprises.taxation system is explored in some detail. The rationale JobSeeker supported the unemployed. JobKeeper supportedsupporting the abolition of stamp duty is examined. Finally, many of those in work to stay in employment throughthe cause of the lack of housing affordability in Greater the closedown. Targeted schemes were implementedSydney is challenged along with the policy solutions explored including the HomeBuilder package for new hometo date.construction and renovations.I would like to acknowledge and thank our major sponsor, In NSW the Minister for Planning was quick to declare theMeriton and sponsors: Greenfields Development Company and construction industry essential and not only declared thatWalker Corporation, for making this special edition possible.work sites would stay open, but hours of operation wereWelcome to Urban Ideas.expended to include public holidays and weekends. Major Sponsor: Sponsors: Magazine design by:Illustrations by: Claudia Iacovella Simon Matthews'