Business raises doubts about housing and the impact of 1.5 million immigrants

Business has warned of a worsening housing crisis as 1.5 million immigrants are forecast to head to Australia by 2027.

May 10, 2023, updated May 10, 2023
Chief Executive of Master Builders Australia Denita Wawn  (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Chief Executive of Master Builders Australia Denita Wawn (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Business leaders said structural deficits and modest growth would return in the near future which raised the prospect of tax increases in coming Budgets.

“The real story of this Budget is the five-year net overseas migration total of 1.5 million people out to 2027,” the Property Council chief executive Mike Zorbas said.

“Without property state housing tarkets, improved planning systems and well-located housing choices for students, retirees and renters we will see the national housing deficit blow out further.”

Master Builders also said there was nothing in the Budget to help increase the housing supply and housing investors were being left to absorb the shock of higher interest rates.

However, it backed the Government’s rental assistance and support for first home buyers.

Master Builders also said the $2 billion for social and affordable housing, a reduction in investment taxes for build-to-rent and funding for household energy upgrades was welcome.

But Master Builders chief executive Denita Wawn said if 1 million houses were to be built, more action was needed and workers found.

Ray White economist Nerida Conisbee said about 400,000 migrants would arrive in Australia this financial  year, an all-time high.

“At the same time the number of residential building approvals has been falling and there are fewer homes being completed,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the measures to fix housing supply were limited and there was nothing to fix the challenges in the construction sector.”

The gas industry also backed $2 billion in funding for low-carbon hydrogen.

The Australian Banking Association backed the Government’s crackdown on scams with an $86 million package targetting scams and online fraud, which included a national anti-scam centre.

BDO tax partner Mark Molesworth said a tax crackdown on a small number of relatively well-off Australians was under way and taxpayers could expect greater scrutiny through a package of compliance programs and measures to target multinationals.

“Wealthy individuals, small business, multinationals and blatant tax evaders can now expect a lot more visits from the Tax Office,” Molesworth said.

“Multinationals can also expect the net to tighten with the Government now giving us certainty around the January 1, 2024, start date for a 15 per cent minimum tax rate.”

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He said there was also appeared to be a targeting of multinationals withholding tax rate minimisation schemes and other schemes to save foreign tax where the “Australian tax system is merely collateral damage”.

But he said reform of the tax system had been set aside.

The Queensland Resources Council backed the Government’s $57 million towards critical mineral international partnerships and another $23 million for critical mineral policy development.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council said the Budget would be a help to Australians dealing with soaring costs.

“This Budget provides much-needed cost of living relief with initiatives such as the small business energy incentive which can help small and medium food and grocery manufacturers invest in upgraded, energy-saving plant and equipment,” the council said.






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