Twenty years ago, Prime Minister Paul Keating famously described the Australian Senate as “unrepresentative swill”.

The bodies ‘representing’ builders, developers and real estate agents would fit that description better.  Purportedly representing their members, they do nothing of the sort.

At each and every recession, when their members start going broke, they look for handouts and privileges from governments for them – but that’s not looking after their members. That’s a welfare-seeking charade failing to address the fundamental problem.

If these bodies could take a peep at the video “Real Estate 4 Ransom” they might then come to understand their rent-seeking in the good times is directly responsible for their members going out of business in the bad.  (Amongst other things, this week’s Four Corners program about Bankwest and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia touched upon what happens to developers when the market takes a turn for the worse.)

Developers rightly complain about increasing up-front statutory charges with which they are faced, but can’t see these were largely unnecessary in the days when local government rates and state land taxes used to help fund the provision of necessary infrastructure.

Just try to mention The Henry Review’s recommendation for an all-in federal land tax to replace the mish-mash of state land taxes and stamp duties, however, and they will become apoplectic; they will be the most outspoken bodies against reforming poorly structured land taxes.  Like the banks, they’ll take their super profits in the good times and seek handouts in the bad.  (It’s nice work if you can get it coming and going!)

The HIA apparently even sees increasing the GST as a possible solution!

Real reform is not on their agenda.

Make no mistake about it, these bodies represent the 0.1% – not their members.  “Unrepresentative swill” describes them well.

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