• South Australia update

Job opportunities in the construction sector

While South Australia’s unemployment rate fell marginally in December to 7.2 per cent , there is still much room for improvement. With the State Government changing policies last year, giving local workers a greater chance than interstate firms to win government infrastructure work, Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan is encouraging people to consider a move into the construction industry, particularly for those who are losing their jobs from the car industry collapse.

There are a range of government infrastructure projects both planned and currently underway, including the upgrade of South Road, the Northern Connector road works and the upcoming construction projects of the Riverbank Precinct, the old Royal Adelaide Hospital Site and, of course, the new hospital assembly on North Terrace. These projects are creating thousands of job opportunities for South Australians.

SA Government’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill

Late last year, an Infrastructure Delivery Scheme Bill was introduced to the South Australian Parliament. Mooted changes include stripping local councils of their development assessment responsibilities, a levy on new houses and a move to install an urban growth boundary – encouraging building ‘up rather than out’. The levy on new houses is to be imposed to cover the costs of building essential infrastructure and is likely to have the support of State Parliament. Additional key aspects of the reform however, such as the Urban Growth Boundary, have already been rejected outright, with others expected to bring about vigorous, ongoing debate.

With the reforms estimated to shape the housing industry in South Australia for the next 20 years or so, it is not anticipated the Bill will be passed quickly. It is currently at the Committee stage, where it is being examined in detail, and where various amendments and deliberations will be made regarding its content.

Stamp duty abolition accelerated

Studies on the abolition of stamp duty throughout Australia have concluded that scrapping it would add $3.3 billion to national GDP and boost consumption by $9.7 billion.

The South Australian Government has already taken this on board and made the decision in early December to fast-track (in part) their initial three-year plan to abolish commercial conveyance stamp duties. This means the reduction, which was to apply from 1 July 2016, now applies to all transactions from 7 December 2015.

Bringing forward the reduction in stamp duty for commercial transactions gives South Australia a greater competitive advantage over other jurisdictions, with any business purchasing commercial property in the state now paying the lowest stamp duty costs throughout Australia. It is thought this decision will help stimulate local, interstate and foreign investment interest and activity. 

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