A cut on fees, taxes, and charges in the property sector in New South Wales needs to be implemented by the next state government to boost investment, stimulate economic growth, and create more jobs, according to the Property Council of Australia.

The industry group said that its 2019 NSW state election platform aims to ensure that New South Wales’ tax-heavy environment does not hinder investment in the state. The next government needs to guarantee a pipeline of domestic and off-shore investment, said the Property Council.

The property industry pays more taxes than any other industry in the state. It is currently contributing 54% of state-sourced revenue, which amounts to $20 billion in taxes each year.

“The NSW government needs to address the cumulative impact of property fees, levies, taxes and charges by empowering an existing NSW ‘watchdog’ to ensure housing supply and affordability is not jeopardised by the overall tax burden. As it stands, no one in government has a complete line of sight of all the tax and regulatory costs imposed on an individual dwelling, which means no one is controlling those costs, and government at all levels rely on the revenue heavily,” said Jane Fitzgerald, Property Council NSW executive director.

The Property Council is also pushing for improved transparency on the collection of infrastructure taxes from state and local government. This includes divulging information on how those funds are spent and coming out with an annual report that compiles returns from local government.

“We welcomed the treasurer’s announcement this year (that) the stamp-duty tax brackets will move in line with the consumer price index. However, we would also like to see them realign them to address 30 years of bracket creep. This not only would ensure fewer home buyers pay the top rate of tax, but would stimulate the cooling housing market,” Fitzgerald said.

The Property Council’s election policy platform also recommends putting biodiversity charges under new legislation on hold until the cost/price impact has been determined by government and advised to communities and industry; and ensuring that all the new Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) plans have appropriate transitional arrangement to ensure the costs are factored into the land price rather than borne by the housing supplier or home buyer.