This week the MBA was focused on reviewing the 2019-20 ACT Budget.
The budget papers show an increasing reliance on taxes raised from the property and construction industry to fund Territory operations. Total “real estate taxes” which include land tax, rates and stamp duty are budgeted to increase by $62 million, and will form 49.5% of the total ACT Government tax take.
The MBA was looking for a range of measures in the budget to support our policy priorities. We welcome funding for 16 additional resources to improve building quality, and six additional DA assessment staff. However we are disappointed that both of these measures will be funded through increasing license fees, the building levy and DA fees.
The MBA has been calling for a long term infrastructure plan for the ACT. This is required to support the review of the Territory Plan, to communicate the Government’s infrastructure vision to industry and community, and critically, to support any application to the Commonwealth for additional federal funding.
A long term infrastructure plan still hasn’t been delivered. In fact, over the 4 years of the budget, investment in the capital works is shown to decline. We are also concerned by a trend that the annual budgeted capital works budget is not being spent. Based on projections for the 2018-19 year, 14% (or $112 million) of this year’s capital works budget will not be spent this year.
The residential sector will be supported through a four year land release program to deliver 15,600 dwellings and will receive a welcome boost by the removal of stamp duty on eligible first home buyer purchases.
The MBA has welcomed ongoing funding to support apprentice training, which have been matched with federal government funding.