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Property and Construction Stakeholder Relationship Forum key messages 4 March 2021

Key messages for Property and Construction Relationship Forum 4 March 2021.

Last updated 22 March 2021

Opening address

Chair Scott Walker, Private Wealth ATO, opened the forum session, thanking participants for their time and stated an interest in learning how things are going in the property and construction industry – particularly as we move from a Covid-19 environment, back to something a little closer to business as usual.

Superannuation: Early release of super and first home saver

The two main ways that early release of super and the property market interact is via the compassionate release of super and the first home super saver program.

Compassionate release of super – In the last 12–18 months we have seen a reduction in applications for compassionate release of super in the order of 75%, surprising considering the current environment. However, things are starting to return to pre-Covid levels.

First home super saver – We have seen a significant increase in use of this program (200% increase). It is expected this is because it is still a new scheme, so the numbers were low early as the program was rolled out and advertised. It is expected that numbers will increase to a plateau of around 20,000 requests per year.

Update from industry

Supply and demand

In the residential market space, specifically detached housing, a lot of planned developments were brought forward to meet demand in the market. This has been driven by the timeframes dictated by state and federal government forcing timelines and demand forward.

Home builder grant was successful in driving demand, application numbers double what was forecast.

A question is whether this increased demand for residential housing will force prices up and cause housing affordability issues.

There is still appetite for residential apartments, but demand has swung more towards detached houses.

Increased demand is leading to material and labour shortages – these may impact timeframes imposed by the government concessions/grants.

Labour – A lot of demand for construction workers, but supply has been constrained by restricted travel. The Australian labour force cannot move around to address areas of highest demand, nor can we import skilled migrant workers to make up the shortages.

Build to rent (BTR)

Need to separate the concept of BTR from social/affordable housing – BTR in other countries increases housing stock, but it is not necessarily social housing.

The government has been pushing BTR to as a means to address social housing supply shortages, but despite the push there has not been a large increase in BTR developments. Industry are looking at the viability of BTR, seeking concessions, mainly at state level to make BTR developments feasible.

Another hurdle for BTR in Australia is that it requires a bit of a cultural shift from the 'Australian dream' of a back yard and a detached house.


Insolvencies are at all-time lows as a result of insolvency measures put in place in response to Covid-19.

Expecting insolvencies to return to pre-Covid levels when the rest of the stimulus/support measures for example JobKeeper are withdrawn.

Insolvency reforms introduced temporary restructuring relief, debt restructuring and simplified liquidation. All three processes are only available to incorporated small business that have less than $1 million in liabilities and meet specific criteria. The temporary restructuring relief is an extension to support measures introduced by government in 2020 and is available until 31 March 2021.

Statutory Trust AccountsExternal Link – On 1 March 2021 Queensland introduced a statutory trust framework for state government initiated construction contracts. Under this framework, the head contractor must set up a statutory trust account and use this to pay their subcontractors ensuring security of payments.

Temporary full expensing (TFE) and Loss carry back

TFE – Businesses with turnover less than $5 billion are eligible to fully expense cost of improvements to existing assets and/or cost of new business assets. Businesses claim this via their tax return, the online forms are being updated and more information on this will be shared on

Loss carry back – Loss carry back provision looks to help businesses who had a good year prior to Covid-19 but went on to make losses in proceeding years 2021–2022. Claims for loss carry back won’t come in until the next financial year.

For more information on the new insolvency measures refer:

For more information on TFE and loss carry back refer:

Master Builders Economic Forecast


Homebuilder has been very supportive of residential activities in the short term.

Detached housing fell 11% in January, but is continuing to be supported by Homebuilder, particularly with the extension of Homebuilder timeframes and increases to the value of properties considered under the program. There is a good amount of residential work in the pipelines.

High density approvals for example, apartments were struggling prior to Covid-19 and have continued to struggle with low rental growth, the lowest since 1974.

Forecast – short term (2020–21) expecting 160 000 new builds across Australia. In the medium term (2021–22) expecting 140,000 new dwelling starts, due to low migration. After this Master Builders Association forecast a bounce back, driven by full employment and removal of international travel restrictions.

University/student accommodation

Student accommodation is under a lot of pressure – significantly reduced movement of international students.

New Payment Times Reporting

Payment times reporting scheme was announced in November 2018, before undergoing a consultation period with more than 400 businesses. The legislation was approved in October 2020 and the scheme started 1 January 2021.

The scheme aims to improve payment times for small businesses, having large businesses report on their payment times and then having this information published by the government.

Availability of this data is expected to help small businesses decide who they do business with and help the Australian public decide which large businesses they buy from.

Businesses that are constitutionally covered entities, carry on an enterprise in Australia and have a total income in excess of $100 million need to report on their payment times and practices via the Payment times reporting portal. We are supporting large businesses with tools to assist complete the reporting requirements, including releasing a small business identification tool.

See also:

Debt and Lodgment: Approach to recommencement

The ATO is recommencing these activities under a three-phase approach:

  • Phase 1 – June 2020: ATO continuing to allow deferrals of due dates and use of tax plans, while encouraging clients to contact the ATO for help. Action continued for high risk clients.
  • Phase 2 – February 2021: Continued help and assistance for those who need it and are willing to engage with the ATO. Formal warnings reintroduced.
  • Phase 3 – March 2021: Elements from both Phase 1 and 2, while taking firmer and stronger action with non-compliant clients.

In addition to all of this, the ATO is continuing to put out messaging to encourage clients to comply and assisting them by improving access to online services.

Action items

Action item

Question on notice regarding ATO debt and lodgment

Due date

March 2021



Action item details

Provide members details to ATO contact for offline discussion.


Action item

Practical Compliance Guideline: Build to Rent

Due date

To be considered prior to next meeting



Action item details

ATO to consider preparing a practical compliance guideline for Build to Rent.


Action item

Out of Session Discussion: Acreage and CGT Curtilage

Due date

April 2021



Action item details

ATO to organise out of session meeting with member to discuss.