TAB and Landgate sales needed for bold plan

The McGowan Government will increase its foreign buyers surcharge but asset sales are necessary if it wants to implement its infrastructure plans, according to the Property Council of Australia WA.

THE sale of the TAB and Landgate will be important to the McGowan Government’s success in achieving its infrastructure objectives, according to the Property Council of Australia WA.

Property Council of Australia WA executive director Lino Iacomella  said central to the State Budget’s success in achieving the government’s bold infrastructure objectives would be a further commitment to progress with WA’s asset sale program, including the sale of Landgate and the TAB, which were identified in the Budget.

Mr Iacomella said with the Budget the government had missed an opportunity to attract more investment by increasing its new foreign investment tax.

On Thursday the government said it would increase the rate of the foreign buyers surcharge to 7 per cent to help place the state’s finances on a more sustainable footing and bring WA in line with other states that levy a surcharge.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt said from January 1 next year the surcharge will apply on the dutiable value of residential property purchased by foreigners, including corporations and trusts, in WA.

“This will be in addition to the normal transfer duty payable on the property,’’ he said.

“The surcharge is restricted to residential property, with commercial transactions and significant residential developments remaining exempt.

Mr Wyatt said the increase would bring in an estimated revenue of $123 million during the period of 2018-19 to 2021-22.

He said the government would introduce legislation into the State Parliament in the near future.

Opposition Housing spokesman Peter Collier said the foreign investment tax of 7 per cent was another blow for the struggling WA property sector and home owners.

“This new tax will put further downward pressure on the stagnant WA housing market,” he said.

“The housing sector is a major contributor to employment in WA and the government is hell bent on cutting the legs from under it.

“What this government does not understand is that its xenophobic attack on investment will be a major blow to housing demand which hurts house prices, hurts the housing sector and hurts jobs.”