A Property Council proposal to use $10,000 cash grants to lure Sydneysiders and Melburnians to the national capital has been shot down by Chief Minister Andrew Barr, who says there are much better ways to boost economic activity than "buying Canberrans".
The industry group has included the cash incentive in a wishlist of policies published ahead of the ACT election, believing it can help boost population growth in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
It also wants the next ACT government to offer $25,000 grants to business prepared to set up in the territory in the next 12 months, and provide a $5000 wage subsidy to employers who hire newly arrived Canberrans.
But Mr Barr has poured cold water on the idea, arguing that it would not achieve the outcome the Property Council wanted.
He said people would move to Canberra for employment or because they wanted to live in the city, not because of the prospect of pocketing $10,000.
"I don't mind innovative ideas being put forward, but I'm not sure that buying Canberrans is quite what we need to be doing at this time," Mr Barr said.
"The sorts of people that are going to move probably don't need $10,000 to make that move. We can far better invest $10,000 in something that would actually stimulate economic activity in the ACT in a much greater way."
The Property Council's election wishlist also calls for residential and commercial rates to be capped for three years, and a moratorium on new property-related charges for the next 12 months.
Opposition Leader Alistair Coe did not respond directly when asked if a Liberal government would adopt any of the lobby group's ideas.
Instead, Mr Coe took aim at the ACT government, claiming its land release program and tax regime meant that Canberra families would be better off financially if they moved out of the territory.
"A Canberra Liberals government will fight to see ACT families, local employers and their employees succeed in the ACT where they belong, particularly during these extraordinarily tough times," Mr Coe said.