Property Council executive director Chris Mountford among development in West End. Pic Jono Searle.CONFIDENCE in Queensland’s property market has fallen for the first time in nearly two years on the back of the latest tax grab proposed by the state government.The ANZ/Property Council Survey released today, taken in the weeks either side of the November state election, has recorded a drop of two index points for Queensland in the March 2018 quarter — the first decline in 20 months.The state now has the lowest confidence levels of all Australian jurisdictions.The re-elected Palaszczuk Government has announced plans to increase land tax rates by 2.5 per cent on properties worth more than $10 million and more than double the tax rate for foreign investors from 3 to 7 per cent.GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HEREProperty Council Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said the results confirmed industry concern about the proposed property tax hikes, which he argued would hurt jobs growth and home values.“At a time when we need to do more to catch up with other markets, increasing taxes on property is a big economic risk,” Mr Mountford said.“The impact of these proposed tax increases can already be seen in the figures.“Forward work schedules, staffing level expectations, and Queensland’s economic growth predictions are all down.”The ANZ/Property Council Survey Queensland results for the March quarter of 2018.The Property Council is urging the Government to reverse the proposed tax increases, saying ordinary Queenslanders would pay the price because businesses would be forced to pass on the cost to consumers.“The proposed land tax hike is ultimately going to flow through to affect capital values, and impose higher rents and costs on businesses,” he said.“I think there’s a general lack of understanding that foreign buyers are a key ingredient to getting new housing construction starts going.“If we’re making it harder for those people to invest in Queensland, ultimately that’s going to flow through to lower levels of activity.”The latest ANZ/Property Council Survey shows a drop in confidence in the Queensland property industry. Photo: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images.For the last two years, Queensland has consistently lagged behind the major states when it comes to confidence, only remaining in front of Western Australia, where the end of the resources boom created significant economic challenges.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus22 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market22 hours agoBut the latest survey shows a surge in confidence in WA.“Clearly confidence is starting to return to the WA market,” Mr Mountford said.“They’ve turned a corner and yet we haven’t had that sentiment shift.“If anything, we’re still bumbling along behind the other states.”New homes under construction in Mango Hill, north of Brisbane. The latest ANZ/Property Council Survey shows a drop in confidence in the Queensland property industry. Image: AAP/Dan Peled.But ANZ senior economist Daniel Gradwell said that he was not too concerned about the confidence drop in Queensland during the quarter,“Overall sentiment is still sitting at pretty solid levels, even though it has dropped off recently,” Mr Gradwell said.LAP UP LAKESIDE LUXURY“I think it’s fair to say Queensland has essentially moved past its mining-related downturn.“We’re starting to see economic activity improve, particularly across the labour market with unemployment at its lowest level in about four years.“So confidence is already translating into actual economic activity.”The latest ANZ/Property Council Survey shows a drop in confidence in the Queensland property industry. Photo: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images.St George Economics noted in its latest economic outlook for Queensland that the state’s economic growth had picked up over the past year, with business investment gaining momentum, commercial construction strengthening and robust employment growth.HOME BUYERS SKIP CRUCIAL CHECKSNationally, the survey reveals New South Wales has lost its throne to Victoria as the property industry with the strongest outlook.It gathered responses from 1374 professionals within the residential and commercial property sector.“It’s a large sample size, so we’re confident it’s reflective of what’s actually happening on the ground,” Mr Gradwell said.
Publica, Switzerland’s largest pension fund, has appointed Doris Bianchi as its new director, effective 1 November. She succeeds Dieter Stohler, who will leave the scheme on 30 September.Bianchi, who holds a doctorate in law, is currently personal adviser to Alain Berset, head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA). The department oversees mainly OASI (state pension) and health services matters.In her current role, Bianchi supports the head of the FDHA especially on issues relating to health policy and statistics.Prior to joining the Home Affairs Department, Bianchi was the executive secretary of the Swiss Trade Union Federation (SGB), where she was responsible for social security issues since 2011. She is an expert in the Swiss second pillar pension system, the occupational pensions, or zweite Säule. She chaired the board of the replacement occupational pension scheme Stiftung Auffangeinrichtung BVG, or Fondation Institution Suppletive LPP , and the security fund.The Kassenkommission, the highest institution at Publica with supervisory authority over the management team, is convinced that Bianchi is the right pick for the success of the pension fund, it said in a statement.Publica is an independent pension institution operating under public-law fund managing the assets of 20 Swiss public pension schemes – 13 of which are open and seven closed – which comes close to CHF41bn (€38bn) as of December 31, 2019. IIn a previous interview with IPE, the head of asset management at Publica, Stefan Beiner, said the fund was working on three timeframes depicting different scenarios to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.