Sandra Brewer Property Council WA
Sandra Brewer from Property Council WA has called on political parties to give tax relief. Image supplied.
  • The property industry could be hit by skill shortages, says the Property Council
  • They want 2-year payroll tax relief for employers relocating interstate employees to WA
  • This is one idea from their five-point 'Recovery and Growth' election platform

With a looming skills shortage now back on the agenda, the Property Council has urged any future WA government to give payroll tax relief.

With the WA state elections are only a few week’s away (Saturday 13 March), the industry body is calling on political parties to adopt a two-year payroll tax rebate for employers able to attract and permanently relocate interstate employees in key demand categories – such as construction – identified as crucial to WA’s economic performance.

Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said skills shortages in Western Australia’s property industry were beginning to bite, slowing the state’s economic recovery and risking future growth.

“The property industry is always in fierce competition for labour with other sectors, like mining and infrastructure. But this year, more than ever, our state’s recovery and growth will be powered by property,” says Ms Brewer.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Western Australia recorded 37,400 job vacancies in November as businesses tried to catch up on hiring that stalled as a result of COVID-19.

“Relocating high demand workers from the east coast can offset labour cost pressures and act as a circuit breaker in our boom-and-bust economy,” Ms Brewer said.

Under the proposal, the payroll tax rebate would be paid retrospectively to employers after an employee has lived in WA for two years.

“Even in good times, WA depends on workers from other parts of Australia and overseas to fill skills gaps. COVID-19 has exacerbated existing skills shortages, and there are clear signs we are at capacity,” she said.

Work is expected to start on 18,500 new homes across WA this year, fueled by Government stimulus programs, however, Treasury data published earlier this year has revealed that West Australian new work commitments have slowed.

“The federal government’s HomeBuilder scheme and the State Government’s building bonus, have been economy workhorses during the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing forward billions of dollars of residential development.

“Unfortunately, new work commitments in WA have fallen in the last quarter, due to builder and developers being at capacity and facing a competitive labour market.

“WA is showing strong signs of growth as we head into 2021. It is essential we address skills shortages now to avoid labour cost adverse impacting the cost of living in the State,” Ms Brewer said.

Property Council WA’s election platform, ‘Recovery and Growth: Powered by Property‘ outlines five actions the incoming WA Government can take to ensure the property industry is enabled to drive performance, accelerate development and investment, and create jobs:

  1. Promote population growth to drive economic activity
  2. Streamline planning processes to drive growth
  3. Eliminate disproportionate property taxation
  4. Revitalise the CBD and secure the success of the Perth City Deal
  5. Support the delivery of diverse housing stock to keep WA growing
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