Taking a stand on taxation

July/August 2016 edition

Our true strength comes to the fore when we put aside our differences and speak with one voice on the critical issues impacting our industry.

At last we have an election result and we can finally get back to business as usual after what seems like an eternity of uncertainty. Over the past few months, it’s been abundantly clear that both the Federal Government and the NSW Government see property as a cash cow. They don’t understand how the property market operates and they can’t seem to comprehend the real impact their policies will have on the market. Instead they’re focused on tax, tax and more tax as a means of bolstering their budget bottom line.

Playing games with the property market is akin to playing with fire. Only those who truly understand the market should be making taxation policy decisions that have the potential to have far reaching ramifications – not just for the market and the economy, but also for the personal wealth of millions of Australians. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that those making these decisions have this critical understanding of the complexities of the market they’re playing with.

The naivety displayed by politicians on both sides of the political fence when debating taxation policy in relation to the property market over recent months is really quite extraordinary – and disappointing – and their shortcomings have been clearly exposed. Our industry is a complex one. Factors such as buyer and seller behaviour, market sentiment and consumer confidence seem to have been ignored. So too have things like planning constraints and development restrictions. To pay little heed to these factors is a recipe for disaster.
“Government is focused on tax, tax and more tax as a means of bolstering their budget bottom line.”
Standing together
One of the real positives we’ve witnessed over the last couple of months is the willingness for our industry to come together and speak with one voice. More than 20 real estate groups, franchises and other stakeholders – including Real Estate Institutes across the country – came together to campaign against Labor’s negative gearing policy which would see tax breaks for property investors seriously curbed. Led by the Real Estate Institute of Australia, the campaign alerted the wider community to the inherent dangers of the policy.

At REINSW, we were pleased to actively contribute to the campaign and we see it as a strong foundation for future co-operation across our industry. We’re stronger working together and the campaign is evidence of this.

I’d like to thank everyone who played a part in the campaign, particularly Ray White’s Lisa Pennell, LJ Hooker’s Chris Mourd and REIA President Neville Sanders who all kept the fight alive right up to election day. Their efforts, as well as those of hundreds of agents and contributors across the country, have been critical to strengthening the future of our industry.

John Cunningham
REINSW President