REIQ cries foul over Queensland finances audit

REIQ cries foul over Queensland finances audit

Posted on Friday, June 15 2012 at 5:15 PM

The release of an interim audit of Queensland’s finances has recommended a number of cost-saving measures that have drawn the ire of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

Former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello has
spent two months examining the state’s books, and on Friday detailed a first
draft of his findings.

He warns state debt is set to climb to $100
billion by 2019 unless action is taken. Some possible measures include asset
sales and public service cuts, but it’s a number of “imposts on property
investors” that has the REIQ up in arms.

Some of the property related measures
include a $100 levy on all property owners, reducing or cutting the concession
on land tax, applying a premium transfer duty rate and hiking the landholder
acquisition duty rate.

The REIQ’s acting chief executive Antonia
Mercorella says property owners are “sick and tired of having to bail out the

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls
immediately ruled out the $100-per-property levy, but said other
recommendations in the report will be considered.

Any further burdens on investors will see
them “pull up stumps” and leave the state, Mercorella warns.

“Property owners and investors specifically
seem to forever be targeted by all levels of government when they’re short of
cash. Whether it’s through higher council rates, one-off levies or higher rates
of stamp duty.”

Figures show investor activity in
Queensland has halved in the past five years. Slugging them with additional
costs will see a further retreat, she says.

“We’re starting to see the impact of this
reduced investor activity, with vacancy rates tightening and rents increasing
across the state.

“If more investors left the rental market,
this situation would undoubtedly worsen.”

The government will confirm which
recommendations it’ll adopt when it hands down the State Budget in September.

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