As Australia’s biggest industry and employer, property is a key driver of the Australian economy. Similarly, sentiment in our industry is heavily influenced by the national economic outlook.
That’s why the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s speech this week on our productivity challenge is worth a closer look.
We’ve enjoyed a 28 year run of economic growth, with an annual average growth rate of 3.1 per cent which has been better than the OECD average. As the Treasurer noted, this has been driven by the three P’s – productivity, population and participation.
However, we’re now falling behind on productivity which has tapered over the past decade.
One area in which we can dial up the productivity dividend is more investment in public infrastructure. As Infrastructure Australia noted recently, elevated levels of infrastructure spending need to be the ‘new normal’ for a growing Australia.
The Treasurer also flagged the role of state and territory governments as partners in addressing the national productivity challenge.
As people in our industry are only too well aware, there are too many elements of our planning systems which are a big drag on productivity and also don’t do anything to produce a quality built outcome. It’s also true that with an economy now dominated by services, ensuring our cities are well planned and supported by infrastructure is a critical national priority.
In this context, it’s refreshing to hear the views of the new Secretary for Planning, Industry and Environment in NSW, Jim Betts, which are covered in this issue of Property Australia. As he notes, our industry also has an important role to help drive the agenda for change – something we do every day in every part of the country in support of our industry’s significant economic and social contribution.