Deputy Lino Iacomella will step up as the new Executive Director for the WA division of the Property Council of Australia on March 31, taking over from long-time campaigner, Joe Lenzo.
And he says his first priority will be setting the Property Council agenda for the 2017 State election, which is good news for property owners.
There will be a focus on tax reform and stopping increases in property taxes and an infrastructure plan that will support development in WA, beginning with public transport, he said.
The Property Council’s ongoing campaign to support developments by streamlining local government planning laws would also be a focus.
“The property industry is ready to step up now that the mining investment boom has faded but we need these reforms and initiatives, particularly around infrastructure and planning to support the growth potential,” he said.
Outgoing WA Executive Director Joe Lenzo warned the Government against another land tax hike. He called on politicians to introduce a fairer and more efficient tax system in the next state budget, starting with a halt to property tax increases and abolishing land tax aggregation.
“After the 2016/17 budget period, the property industry will have been slugged with a 75% increase in land tax. This is compared to a 13% increase in total state taxation. It is clear as day that property is taking an unfair wack as this Government tries to right the ship," he said.
“The current land tax structure makes property a less attractive investment, passes higher costs onto tenants distorting housing affordability and reduces investor returns. The Government can give confidence back to the industry now by getting rid of land tax aggregation. This unfair practice can lead to property owners paying up to three times more land tax than a system that does not apply aggregation.”
“Ultimately we would like to see a move to a flatter tax structure which will provide a significant economic incentive for greater investment and more effective allocation of capital in the property sector.”A review of land tax aggregation, including a reduction in the tax thresholds and the introduction of a single flat land tax rate structure, is on the Property Council’s to-do list, along with stamp duty reform for off-the-plan purchases and seniors looking to downsize.