b'JULY 2020Tax reform and the Property marketThe COVID-19 induced recession has had a profound impact on the economicState and Commonwealth governments thinking of the Australian population. Allhave overseen bold new initiatives:the axioms are being questioned. HaveInfrastructure projects have been we gone too far with the abandonment ofbrought forward our manufacturing industry? Are we too Stimulus packages have been reliant on imports and thus susceptible tofunded (CashBoost; JobSeeker; market shocks created by trade disputes,Job Keeper; and HomeBuilder) disease, or war? Is the Australian exportThe planning system is slowly base sufficiently diverse to withstand suchbut surely recognising the need for, and at Ministerial level shocks? Have we over-casualised ourembracing, clearing bottlenecks employment baseand so much more. and improving the efficiency of the planning systemPoliticians and policy makers have responded well to the health risks posed by COVID-19 andThe vendor duty was levied on the sale of the economy also appears to have held-upcommercial and investment properties. The relatively well. However, the genuine fear ofproperty market was already on the decline and this economists working in the nations treasuries is:exacerbated that decline. Stamp Duty receipts were how on earth will we repay the COVID-19 spendingnose-diving and Bob Carrs resignation as Premier splurge debt while simultaneously keeping up withsaw the demise of this short-lived and ill-conceived other demands on government, such as services fortransfer tax.our aging population? Its unlikely well discover a miracle stimulus toMore recently, the NSW Government and Councils workplace productivity.have sought to balance their books by progressively placing a greater and greater burden onto Therefore, the focus must be on increased privatedevelopers and new home buyers by increasing or sector investment and employment to stimulateintroducing new contributions through:economic growth. This approach relies on population Local Infrastructure Charges under Section 7.11 growth, and new population needs new housing.and 7.12 of the ActIt is sometimes the case that it takes a real crisis to Voluntary Planning Agreements under Section get our political leaders to genuinely put the interests7.4 of the Act.of the nation first. A crisis allows a leader to lead. In Affordable Housing contributions under Section the murky coffee cup of political life, the cream rises7.32 of the Actto the top. Perhaps this is such a time. Maybe we State Special Infrastructure Contributions under might just seetax reform? Section 7.24 of the ActThe last time there was any significant change in The application of consent conditions that property development tax law in NSW, it spelt therequire infrastructure contributions under Section end of a political era for the Carr Labor Government.4.17 of the Act, which are routinely applied On that occasion (Easter 2004August 2005), it wasto fund public art, or open space, road and the introduction of then Treasurer Michael Egansdrainages works for example.new taxthe 2.5% vendor duty.Compliance charges imposed by Councils. 3'