April 2014

April 2014 post

June Rate Cut Welcomed

 The decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut the cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.50 per cent today is justified given the ongoing economic uncertainty overseas, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

The rate reduction was also necessary given that recent Australian economic data shows the construction and retail sectors in particular continuing to experience weak conditions.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) building approvals show that the number of dwellings approved fell 8.7 per cent and retail turnover fell 0.2 per cent in April.

 

‘‘While the REIQ welcome today’s rate cut, further relief is needed for confidence to be fully restored across all segments of the Australian economy,’’ REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said.

 

‘‘The real estate sector has known for quite some time that interest rates were higher than was necessary and this is starting to be reflected in the succession of weak data that is being reported.’’

 

Yesterday’s share market losses, on the back of weaker than expected data out of the US and Europe, no doubt also gave the Reserve more reason to reduce the cash rate, Mr Kardash said.

 

‘‘While the Reserve doesn’t tend to act on temporary economic events, the European debt issues continue to overshadow any slight improvements in global economic conditions and this does impact our economy, which is actually in very robust shape by comparison,’’ he said.

 

‘‘This rate reduction, if passed on in full by lenders, is another vital step in restoring confidence to our economy, which is the envy of our compatriots overseas.’’

 

Duty of all to abolish taxes

In the light of the federal budget, which has just been handed down, the government should have delivered on the GST promise of abolishing stamp duty and that home buyers should also do their bit to support the Australian property market.

Australia’s soft property market will continue to tread water unless major changes are made. We need more new housing stock to come onto the market, indirect costs to be reduced, inefficient taxes such as stamp duty to be abolished – preferably all three.

And while HECS-like schemes are commendable for assisting home buyers to pay their stamp duty obligations, it should be a matter of reducing, or better still, getting rid of stamp duty altogether and that falls on everyone’s shoulders.

A struggling property market affects all Australians, as it is a key driver of the nation’s economy and represents a burden for all to share. This is why home buyers should do their bit and continue to put pressure on governments to live up to their GST promises.

Property taxes are reducing home buyers’ ability to purchase new homes, whether they are first home buyers, upgraders, downsizers or investors.

Last year, stamp duty accounted for 37% of total property related taxes in Australia and the reliance of Governments on property taxes to boost their coffers should have lessened over time with the introduction of the GST, but the opposite trend seems to be occurring.

Nationally, stamp duty has risen, due mainly to increases in NSW and Victoria according to industry figures. And yet, property taxes were cut in WA and NT, and government revenues actually increased.

What seems to be happening is that stamp duty is putting new homes beyond the reach of many, so fewer homes are selling overall, reducing revenue raised through these taxes to governments.

Making home ownership too taxing is a short-sighted and quick grab for cash by governments and should be ‘stamped out’ as soon as possible so that everyone can achieve their home ownership goals.

Reducing the cost of living

We need a council that can deliver quality services and the same time balance it’s budget, eliminate the need for new debt, and take the pressure of cost of living.

 

  • Stop any immediate need to increase rates or charges
  • Cap future budgeted rates increase
  • Be challenge to deliver most services for less
  • Deliver quality services and value to residents

Economically and Environmentally Aware

This region is one of the fastest growing in the country and it needs regional leadership born out of Councillors, who can work together, cooperate, who excercise a responsibility to give consideration to the environmental impact of council’s decisions.  Its all about the future looking at the yardstick say for example of population figures for 2026 the Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) must be an environmentally conscious council.
 
The opportunity remains to start to take decisions from an environmentally conscious stand point. Residents need to be sure that councillors will not hinder that progression? MBRC needs to be a lean green council to take astep in the direction and to take the pressure of rates.
 
With inflation all over the place MBRC must not add to inflationary pressures. This means that it must not repeat the mistakes of the past when it comes to council debt and measures which increases debt. Debt equals higher rates and borrowing supports squeezing those people when that can least afford it.

Delivering services not debt, enhancing the lifestyle that makes our region a great place to live and visit.

A stronger region.

The Amalgamators whilst good intentioned set out over the past four years to cut red tape to find savings and build a stronger region. Can anyone really afford for the current situation to continue though? 

Higher rates, decreased services and now new challenges for the region.  The solutions are no where to be found at the end of the first term. 

The model of slashing operational expenditure by providing frontline services only when they are complained for just isn’t taking our region forward.  We need a council which can again pride itself on service delivery and we wont get that without a major policy shift.

This council isn’t taking on the big challenges and it isn’t giving appropriate conisderation to the future.

I started out managing a small business when I was 17.  I managed teams of around 30 -100 employees and  took on a number of new store openings and business turn arounds.  I know that running a small business requires at times long hours to meet a high volume of turnover and deliver quality products and services.

A  council is like a business but at the end of the day it exists to provide services to ratepayers.

Over the next four years of council our community will face old and new challenges and I will continue to put our community first.

I welcome your support for a better Division 4 and region.

Putting the community first

We rightly expect our representatives to have drive, ability and to possess the political integrity to be an honest broker for the community on important issues so we can go forward with one voice and one plan. Community interests should always be the number one priority.

As a small business operator who has a young family, a mortgage and bills I understand the pressure that increasing cost of living has on local families. We need representatives at all levels of government who can support the community at a time of high inflation and uncertain interest rates.

I have embarked on a very public life because I believe in our community, I have a strong and vested interest in ensuring that it is a safe and vibrant place to live. That we have access to quality services. That we have a strong local economy which provides opportunities for those who are willing to invest effort in making a better life for themselves, their families and our community.

I share the hope for our community that it continues to be great, but to do that we need strong economic growth, sound planning and a commitment to our local environment.

To build a better future for our community we need to understand the lessons of the past.  We can achieve this through strong community representation putting our needs front and centre.

Our community deserves representatives at all levels of government who put their community first.  I am committed to being the best representative for our community that I can be and addressing the real issues that matter for our future.

Lend a hand for renters

Dean Teasdale says government needs to do more to support renters and provide better assistance than is currently offered through the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

 “While we support NRAS, it is no longer enough in its existing form, to meet rising rents, leaving those most in need of assistance flailing in their efforts to make ends meet,” Dean Teasdale said.

“It could soon be the case that with falling house prices, lower interest rates and reduced consumer confidence, purchasing a home will make more economic sense for those doing it tough, where the monthly mortgage is not too far off what they are paying for rent.”

According to Dean Teasdale, evidence of improving housing affordability can be garnered through recent home value index results.

“Home values recently posted the best results in seven months and the recent cuts to interest rates, along with talk there may be even further drops, is resulting in NRAS losing some of its validity as an assistance package, especially for those who are finding it difficult to come up with the rent each week or month,” Mr Teasdale said.

“What the government needs to do is look at changing NRAS so it has more relevance and achieves what it set out to do, or consider other forms of assistance such as bringing back some of the grants and other incentives that were obviously phased out too soon.”

Dean Teasdale said although it is good news for the property market that home buyer activity is increasing as a result of the market conditions, it is not good when it is done at the expense of those renters who can least afford it.

“It is always encouraging to hear that more people are realising their dreams of home ownership, but there also exists the reality that there are those in our community who are forced into rental accommodation and can ill afford to fall behind in any way at all in keeping pace with rental increases,” Mr Teasdale said.

“In these situations, they need access to assistance schemes that meet their circumstances and offer real assistance, which NRAS initially did, but has since failed to recognise the growing demand of assistance required, making it virtually obsolete.

“We don’t see property market conditions altering too dramatically in the near future, and certainly not to the extent that they will improve the situation for struggling renters.”

Keeping Rents Low

For all tenants here’s a plan that can put downward local government pressure on rents.  Your voice counts and can make a difference.

1. Rates
2. Supply
3. Red Tape

Keeping rates low; landlords pass increases in rates onto tenants in the form of higher rents. By providing more and better council services off the current budget base this will limit the future need for increasing rates.

Increasing the supply of affordable housing; Right now demand outstrips supply. By increasing the opportunity for the construction of new affordable housing this will even up the balance in favour of lower rents.

Cutting red tape on the buying and selling of properties as well as cost for developers will deliver a cheaper product (house) for investors. This may also mean more investors in the market and lead to lower rents.

Moreton Bay Regional Council can be a local government which takes on the challenge of high rents and makes living within the region more affordable for tenants.  Challenge our local government to do everything they can to keep the pressure of rents in our region.

Accessible and Accountable

There’s been lots of talk recently about grand new solutions for local government. The time has past for talking about practical solutions to counter the ongoing challenges post amalgamation and real action is now well overdue and required.

For example four years ago the proposal of council investigating the option of broadcasting general meetings via the internet was raised. Not exactly riveting viewing?

But consider this. An issue you are interested in comes up in a meeting to be held at say Strathpine.

The issue is about not allowing the tyranny of distance to freeze residents out of the council and debate.

We’ve seen tactics like this already used before by councils. Things like bag checks and security guards to close down access to genereal meeting.   This isn’t on, the community must regain control of their council.

Its about accessibility and accountability. After all, it’s our council.

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