It’s no secret that Robert Simeon has enjoyed commenting on the government in this column, so you can imagine how incensed he was to hear that Bob Carr has quit while he is on holiday and he isn’t here to make light of the occasion.

As a tribute to Rob (not Bob) I have compiled some recent VRN gems that bear repeating. Hardly a week goes by without some colourful comment from Robert but I believe this is not so much the end of the Bobby Dazzler era, as the start of a whole new episode for VRN!

9 July 05
While Bobby ‘Dazzler’ and Andy (Re-assure me) claim that they are in discussions with Canberra about reducing taxes so they can get a larger chunk of the GST hand-outs, word is that they were going to abolish the vendor duty anyway. The property industry is the largest employer in the country and introducing taxes that restrict natural growth, makes little sense at all. The most interesting point is that with Western Australia now announcing this week a wide range of tax reviews, NSW remains the only state that has refused to implement tax relief. The property markets seriously need the investors back, otherwise the rents will continue to escalate. (This is the case at the moment.)

2 July 05
Our close mate Bobby ‘Dazzler’ was at it again today with a massive 450 state taxes getting a touch-up. You name it and it is up, and if you are in for a spot of recreational fishing this week end your licence too, went from $25.00 to $30.00 a year. Andy Re-assure me (Dazzler’s treasurer) said this week that the biggest factor affecting the property market was the increase in interest rates and further speculation of future rises. Most are of the opinion that given the cost of petrol, interest rates will remain untouched for the next twelve months !! Nice one Andy, obviously he still subscribes to No Idea !!

25 June 2005
Finally, there is some method to the madness in the way Bobby Dazzler runs his ‘State of Decay’ with his decision that NSW is to remain Australia’s most heavily taxed state. By adopting an economic strategy that is forcing more companies to re-locate to other states, the ‘Dazzler’ obviously believes this could be the very answer to solving the problem of falling water levels. By severely reducing the population of NSW, water consumption levels will not reduce as rapidly which, in turn, puts a positive spin on our water supply problems. Whilst standing on a platform (where the train is also running late) the NSW government still believes that stimulating the economy with tax-reform, is not the way of the future. One can only guess that other states, where investment and economic growth is encouraged, are becoming too much of a magnet for many companies.

18 June 2005
Whilst most would agree that we are in a slow-down mode, one needs to look at the major cause for the slow-down. Does the name ‘Bobby Dazzler’ sound familiar ? Transaction costs otherwise known as NSW Government fines for property participation are the major cause for the decline in available property in Mosman. Given that the formula applied to determine the duty payable, turns twenty next year (property prices are much higher in 2006, than 1986) most would agree that the time has arrived to set a Stamp Duty that encourages and not discourages purchasers. I guess the ‘Governor of Moolah’ has to remain politically correct by not commenting on the effect that this duty has on the property market.

11 June 2005

Memo: Bobby Dazzler
Subject: Tax Reforms

Ten years ago, on average, a Mosman house sold every seven years. Today, we are seeing anecdotal evidence that these houses sell every twelve to fourteen years due to the high costs of acquisition taxes (Stamp Duty over $3,000,000 is now seven per cent of the purchase price). The Australian Bureau of Statistics has identified that house sales in Mosman are on a rapid decline.

4 June 2005
The property market always leaves clues and if you look hard enough, the clues lead to answers. ‘Bobby Dazzler’ has created a major problem for the rental markets as rents are now going in the opposite direction to our evaporating water supply. We have reached 98.88 per cent occupancy with our rent roll, and that is scary, if you are currently looking to rent, but very encouraging if you are an investor looking to enter the market again! The future for tenants who are endeavouring to save a deposit is bleak, as the rents are now being increased to pay for Land Tax, and demand far exceeds supply. It is too early to calculate what the new rental increases will be, however a ten per cent hike is a very strong possibility. This rental position is a direct response to government policy, and once again identifies just how far out of touch ‘Bobby Dazzler’ is, with the ‘State of Decay’.

….and all this in the last few weeks, no wonder Bob’s doing a runner!

Property Council NSW executive director Ken Morrison must read this column too, as the Australian Financial Review reports he has called for a complete review of the tax burden on NSW businesses, particularly the removal of the “inefficient and investment-sapping vendor tax”.

The same paper also points out that “surging Sydney house prices helped cut economic growth in recent years by encouraging a greater exodus of residents to cheaper states” which Robert brought to our attention years ago.

Further, the latest Business Outlook from Access Economics states NSW “is on the wrong side of a housing bubble, the wrong side of an over-valued Australian dollar and an historic swing in the nation’s comparative advantage”. Clearly, over the past decade, the NSW people have been getting on with things despite the government rather than because of it. So with nowhere else to go but further down, it’s little wonder Bob has decided to call it a day.

Of course Bob has his own ideas about the legacy he has left us all, best summed up in his resignation press conference when he said “I find it hard to believe in heaven because Australia in 2005 is so near perfect.”

Don’t worry though, Robert will be back next week and I have a feeling he just won’t be able to stop himself from having the last word (or three).

So take time to enjoy Bob’s weather (“there’s a lot of life to be lived”) and I will see you at one of my open homes this weekend!

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