Carter / Powerful property sector wants a better go

THE property industry is the ACT’s second largest – behind the public sector – and accounts for 12.1 per cent of the territory’s economic activity, according to a new, landmark report.  

Catherine Carter.

Catherine Carter.

Commissioned by the Property Council of Australia, the AEC Group’s report reveals that the property sector underpins economic growth, jobs, salaries and the tax base in the ACT.

The sector employs 26,000 people across the ACT and builds prosperity by paying $1.4 billion in wages and salaries each year.

One in nine people in the ACT draws income directly or indirectly from the property industry and 290,000 people have a stake in property through super funds.

Nationally, the property industry employs 1.1 million people and makes the largest contribution to GDP of any single sector.

The report, “Economic Significance of the Property Industry to the Australian Economy”, says the property sector pays more tax than any other industry – $711 million, or 55 per cent of all territory taxes, fees, rates and charges.

This confirms that the ACT government needs to promote policy solutions that let the property industry grow the economy – for the benefit of all Canberrans.

Clearly, the continued over-reliance on property taxes, which continue to spiral upwards, hurts the property industry and every single Canberran, too.

At a time when the ACT economy is in transition, we need other industries to step up to create jobs and drive economic growth. The ACT government has relatively few ways to encourage growth in the economy, however changing tax settings is one of them.

Lowering the rates of selected taxes would deliver benefits across the entire local economy by generating greater business activity.

The numbers in the AEC report are big ones. With the right reforms,  fairer taxes and better planning, they will get even bigger.

Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia

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