Government Changes, Property and Infrastructure Reform

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‘Change the Government and you change the country’ Paul Keating once apparently said.

 

It is only a few weeks since Malcolm Turnbull deposed Tony Abbott and the contrast in Prime Ministerial styles is marked.  However, will there be much difference in policy substance?

 

In this article, I hypothesise what policy initiatives a Turnbull government could develop – particularly relating to Chan & Naylor clients.  As an ex ministerial staffer and Canberra lobbyist, I probably have a better grasp than most.  However, my ideas are merely hypothesis – whether they stand the test of time remains to be seen.

 

For C&N clients, there are likely to be two main areas where a Turnbull government will have an impact:

  • Tax reform; and
  • Property

 

The current tax reform consultation process had identified broad themes including an economic case for broadening the GST base and lifting the rate, lowering the company tax rate to 25 per cent, reducing personal tax rates, and getting rid of inefficient state taxes such as stamp duty and insurance levies.

 

There was also support for reducing existing superannuation concessions which are perceived as inequitable.

 

Reforms in these sectors are controversial and the new government is likely to tread warily.  Nevertheless, based on what we are seeing with the penalty rates debate, this government seems prepared to face up to sensitive conversations the country needs to have with itself.

 

And, in his brief period as Social Services Minister, the new Treasurer appeared prepared to drive Pension reform.  But it is likely that many of the major policy changes will be taken to the next general election seeking a mandate and this government will spend the next few months preparing the ground for reform.

 

The creation of a new Cabinet post, the Minister for Cities also shows that this government will have a new modus operandi.

 

Already, this government has made a number of key pronouncements:

  • Treasurer Morrison has commented on land supply issues impacting on house prices; and
  • Prime Minister Turnbull announced $95m funding to extend the Gold Coast light rail.

 

Property investors may want to follow this government’s urban policy closely.  With initiatives such as the Melbourne Metro and Brisbane Cross River Rail also likely to receive funding, property values will likely increase in such locations. However, as the government has also mooted raising rates in such locations so it can get a return on its investments, property speculators may not be the sole beneficiaries.

 

Christopher Pyne has been charged with innovation.  Hopefully we will see some major reforms on a par with those championed by Hawke/Keating/Howard/Costello.  As this Prime Minister is so pro-public transport, could we finally see rapid inter-city trains between our capitals?  TGVs had a major boost to the regional property markets in Europe and could well prove politically palatable for the coalition partners, the Nationals.

 

It is too soon to be definitive about what this government will do, but hopefully we will see reform and as they happen, you can rely on Chan & Naylor to keep you updated as to how any changes may apply to you.

 

 

Graeme Salt

Disclaimer: This article contains general information. Before you make any financial or investment decision you should seek professional advice to take into account your individual objectives, financial situation and individual needs.

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