The Property Council has asked all key political parties and independents to commit to a review of business taxes following the imminent State election.
Property taxes make up 40% of State taxation revenue this financial year.
Executive Director of the Property Council in WA, Mr Joe Lenzo, said, "The property industry is seen as a bottomless pit of taxation revenue."
"Governments must lessen their reliance on property taxes to generate jobs in Australia."
"The Victorian Labor Government is currently undertaking a business tax review which could serve as a model for a WA review."
The Property Council has sought details of other policies affecting the property industry before the State election is held.
Questions seek parties' policies on taxation, heritage, planning approvals, retail trading hours, electricity costs, and consultation with the Property Council (a list of questions follows)
Mr Lenzo said, "Property industry practioners will use these responses to assess which parties will create the best business environment.
"Dialogue between industry and political parties before elections is an important feature of the democratic process."
Electricity market deregulation is an important issue for the property industry in WA.
"WA is retaining the dubious honour of having the highest electricity costs of any State. In a State of abundant natural resources this is a significant disadvantage," said Mr Lenzo.
Planning legislation requires significant reform.
Mr Lenzo said, "Property developers in WA face an outdated and bureaucratic approvals process.
"The Property Council seeks a streamlined and timely approvals process to promote investment in WA."
Policies affecting property have a wide impact on the economy. More than 9 million ordinary Australians own stakes in a $73 billion commercial property market.
"Most stakes are owned through superannuation and listed property trusts," said Mr Lenzo.
Parties contacted included Liberal, Labor, Nationals, Democrats, Greens, One Nation, and Liberals for Forests. Independents contacted included Liz Constable, Phillip Pendal, and Larry Graham.
Responses are expected by 18 January.
1. The State Budget papers indicate that taxes on property account for almost 40% of total forecast taxation in 2000-2001. The Property Council is seeking to reduce the reliance on property taxes to 20% to more fairly spread the taxation burden.
Will your party commit to a review of State business taxation, to be conducted during the first year of your term, should you win the 2001 election?
2. Owners of heritage properties bear the cost of maintaining assets the government seeks to protect for the benefit of the general community. The proposed heritage legislation does not provide for compensation for property owners required to maintain heritage bulidings.
Do you intend to provide any funds for owners of heritage listed properties where requirements are placed on owners to maintain such property?
3. The Property Council is looking to work with Government to reform the planning approval process, which is overly complex and does not meet the needs of its users. A Property Council report of October 2000 contains several recommendations to redress planning concerns.
Will you commit to completing a review of the planning approvals process within one year of the election to consider the recommendations of the Property Council and other interested bodies?
4. Retail trading hours is an important issue for Property Council members.
What will be your party's policy in relation to retail trading hours for the next term of government?
5. Rates charged for electricity in Western Australia continue to exceed those in the Eastern States- in 1997-98 the rates were some 45% above the Australian average.
What steps will your party take to reduce the cost of electricity for commercial users in WA?
6. There are occassions where the Government and Property Council have a conflicting view on issues. Nevertheless, the Property Council seeks to work closely and constructively with Governments to ensure a mutual understanding of views on issues affecting the property community.
Will your party commit to consulting the Property Council on matters relevant to the Property industry, prior to any legislation or regulation being tabled in Parliament?