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Report recommends infrastructure charge caps in Queensland

THE Queensland Government yesterday announced the release of the Interim Consultation Report of the Infrastructure Charges Taskforce. The report contains 14 draft recommendations to Queensland's State and Council development charging systems that aims to boost development, improve housing affordability and create jobs.

Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, said that Queensland had to stay competitive with other states and housing needs to be kept affordable, adding that State and Council infrastructure charges could add more than $40,000 to the cost of a new home.

The appointment of the Infrastructure Charges Taskforce was announced by the Queensland Government in May 2010. The Taskforce was appointed for up to one year and was tasked with reviewing the current infrastructure charging regime in Queensland and to prepare a final report by the end of this year.

The Taskforce has identified a number of issues relating to the current infrastructure charges arrangements as having a significant impact on industry and Local Government in Queensland, including the need for certainty, transparency, clarity, consistency and simplicity.

Among the 14 proposed recommendations, was a maximum standard infrastructure charge for residential development of between $20,000 and $30,000 per dwelling.

"By capping these charges at between $20,000 and $30,000 we will help make housing more affordable, and this will help stimulate construction and create more jobs," Ms Bligh said.

Infrastructure charges are administered by local governments and paid by developers when new dwellings are constructed, and contribute to the costs of infrastructure such as water, sewerage, drainage, roads and parks.

"Our government will work closely with the Local Government Association of Queensland to consider any implications the reforms might have on current statutory planning and charging arrangements," said Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Stirling Hinchliffe.

The Taskforce is now seeking feedback on the draft report, with the consultation period ending at 5pm on 15 December 2010.

More information is available from the Department of Infrastructure and Planning website at <http://www.dip.qld.gov.au/ict>.

The 14 draft recommendations:

  • Maximum standard charges to be set for standard planning regime;
  • Maximum standard charges to be differentiated by development type/residential development type;
  • Local Governments to have the discretion to apply a revenue subsidy to the maximum charge;
  • Queensland Government to subsidise requirement for Local Function Charges (LFCs) to apply for 3 years;
  • Standard charges to be set for 3 years;
  • Maximum standard infrastructure charges to be escalated annually;
  • Standard planning regime infrastructure charges to be monitored and an ex post evaluation conducted;
  • A deferred payment option to be introduced for standard charges;
  • Standard charge information to be accessible;
  • Queensland Government to be responsible for determining the standard infrastructure charge;
  • A maximum standard infrastructure charge to be set for residential development, of between $20 000 and $30 000 per house;
  • Standard charge – non-residential options to be considered under a standard planning regime;
  • Regulated infrastructure contributions to be disconnected from the plan for trunk infrastructure; and
  • LGAQ to explore appropriate improvements to the administration of infrastructure charges.
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