MEDIA RELEASE – For Immediate Distribution
May 20, 2021
Master Builders Victoria (MBV) welcomes ‘most’ announcements in 2021 Victorian State Budget.
However, MBV says it remains concerned about potential industry impacts of land and property tax increases.
Master Builders Victoria (MBV) has welcomed ‘most’ of the announcements in the 2021 Victorian State Budget handed down in Parliament today, but says it remains concerned about the potential impacts of the increases in land and property taxes that the Government has now formally committed to.
MBV CEO Rebecca Casson said that while the significant funding and focus on more skills training, including in the building and construction sector, was a welcome step forward, increased taxes were not as welcome.
“Master Builders Victoria continues to support all Victorians who aspire to home ownership, and we therefore remain concerned by the confirmation in today’s Budget that the State Government intends to impose property tax increases, which may impact Victorian homeowners, homebuyers and investors.”
Ms Casson said the new increases could be a disincentive to Victorian homeowners and investors, at a time when the building and construction industry was continuing to support the state’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.
The Government has announced that land tax will increase by 0.25 per cent for taxable land holdings between $1.8 million and $3 million, and 0.30 per cent for taxable land holdings in excess of $3 million. Those changes are among a suite of changes to property tax expected to generate $2.4b.
“Since the pandemic began, we have certainly appreciated the range of economic recovery measures implemented by the State Government. However, a cautious approach to any tax increases is vital, especially as any change could impact a successful recovery from COVID-19,” she said.
Ms Casson said MBV applauded the Minister for Training and Skills, Gayle Tierney’s recent announcement of a $383.8 million investment package in skills, training, and higher education, which was also confirmed in the Budget.
“Recently in our sector, we’ve recognised a significant need to grow our skilled tradespeople, as our industry has struggled to keep up with the major growth in demand, especially that driven by the very successful HomeBuilder program,” she said.
“Therefore, we welcome the introduction of the new $86 million Victorian Skills Authority (VSA) as part of the State Government’s commitment to improved access to skills training.”
Ms Casson said MBV was also pleased to see that the Victorian Planning Authority will receive $21 million to continue programs like Streamlining for Growth.
- “This program has delivered 229 projects since it began in 2016 and is estimated to have saved up to $470 million in time and red tape,” she said. “We’re pleased to see that support continue.”
The continuation of the First Home Owner’s Grant was also welcome news for the building and construction industry.
“The grant was boosted to $20,000 to 30 June 2021 through COVID-19 and we’re pleased to see that for 2021/22, it will continue with $10,000 grants for both Victoria’s metropolitan and regional areas,” said Ms Casson. “This will be very welcome news for Victorian home owners and our sector.”
Other key Budget initiatives welcomed by MBV include:
- A $6.2 million investment in the Construction Supplier Register and Residential Cladding Rectification Registers to help assess construction businesses working with government or fixing cladding, while minimising the burden on business by streamlining the procurement process for suppliers working with government.
- $28 million to further improve the State’s planning system and to speed up the delivery of housing and infrastructure projects in growing communities
- $2.3 billion investment in rail infrastructure
- $1.6 billion committed to building 13 new schools and 52 school upgrades, plus $94 million for 17 school upgrades
- $1.2 billion to upgrade and build more hospitals
- $623 million for community infrastructure (e.g., Female Friendly Facilities Fund)
- $179.4 million Fisherman’s Bend Innovation Precinct – infrastructure and road link
- $87.6 million for local infrastructure and programs from playgrounds to libraries
- $65 million for aged care facilities in regional Victoria in Camperdown and Rutherglen
- $10.1 million investment in a state-of-the-art facility for La Trobe University’s Bundoora Sports Park
- $10 million for the Morwell Food Manufacturing Precinct
- $9.1 million to build an Aboriginal refuge in Horsham
- $8 billion investment across regional and rural Victoria (e.g., Romsey Ecotherapy Park and Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens)
“We will continue to work through the detail of this budget and assess how it may impact our sector and our members. We look forward to continuing to work with all levels of Government and our industry partners as we all navigate carefully through the on-going impacts of COVID-19 and lead a future ready industry that builds a better world,” said Ms Casson.
AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW – MBV CEO Rebecca Casson
MEDIA CONTACT – Louise Willis 0466 777 059