State Budget kicks some goals but ignores first home buyers

South Australia’s first home buyers must not be taken for granted, Master Builders SA has warned.

Chief Executive Officer Ian Markos said today’s Budget is generally a financially responsible, pro-business document that focuses on delivery election commitments, but there was nothing new for first home buyers.

“We welcome the Marshall Government’s focus on creating a pro-business macro environment, bringing the massively bloated public sector to heel and the $11.3 billion infrastructure spend on projects such as the Whyalla High School and the Port Wakefield overpass and road duplication.

“A budget surplus, whilst a very worthy objective, should not come at the expense of flogging off assets of long-term value to the state. In this sense the budget is financially responsible, although there is still more scope for public sector cuts and savings efficiencies.

“The percentage of the full-time workforce employed in the public sector must be brought in line with the national average.

“We are cautiously optimistic that the Marshall Government will not preside over an increase in the size of the public sector despite hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on separation packages, as we have seen in the past.

“We also welcome the Marshall Government’s land tax reform measures – a reduction from 3.7 per cent to 2.9 per cent on properties over $1.2 million and raising the threshold from $369,000 to $450,000 will attract more investors to South Australia.

“However, the entry level for the housing market must not be taken for granted. Building approvals for private sector houses have declined for nine consecutive months, and the economic forecast is for the value of residential construction to fall looking into 2019 and beyond. It is clear more needs to be done to stimulate the market and protect jobs in the industry.

“If we are serious about keeping our young people in South Australia, we need to give them reasons to stay. The Marshall Government has missed a golden opportunity to introduce a stamp duty exemption for first homebuyers on new builds.

“This policy would more than pay for itself. According to the ABS, for every $1 million spent in construction, a possible $2.9 million of output is generated, including 37 jobs.”

This release can be download as a PDF here.