THE Queensland Government last week said councils across the state will have more resources to deliver essential community infrastructure following the government's announcement that it will index the maximum infrastructure charges on new developments.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad said indexing the charges would assist councils to better fund local infrastructure needed to support new development and provide residents and businesses with the standard of services they expect in well planned communities.
"Councils have always been responsible for delivering trunk infrastructure like major roads, pipes and parks, but with new development arising right across Queensland – particularly in the South East corner – this can put somewhat of a financial burden on councils in supporting new communities, retail and industrial spaces," Ms Trad said.
"Councils are able to seek contributions from developers to help fund trunk infrastructure by imposing charges on development approvals.
"Since the maximum charges were first set in 2011 they have not increased and these charges no longer reflect the real cost of construction and building, which is starting to hit the bottom line of council budgets.
"The Local Government Association of Queensland has estimated that councils would have missed out on $26 million in revenue for delivering trunk infrastructure if these charges were not indexed for another year."
Under the current Sustainable Planning Act 2009 charges can be indexed by applying an increase based on an average of the previous three years of increases to the cost of building roads and bridges.
"Under the newly indexed amounts, councils will be able to charge developers up to $2 more per m2gfa for retail premises, $1.55 more per m2gfa for office premises, or a total $311.20 extra per house with three or more bedrooms," Ms Trad said.
"Although this may not seem like much, when you multiply the amount by all newly approved developments in a local government area, it adds up and will go a long way in supporting councils' bottom line."
Ms Trad said the new Planning Act 2016, which will commence in 2017, made provision for the annual indexation of the maximum infrastructure charges to occur automatically.
"But it's important we introduce the indexed charges now and not wait until the new Act commences next year, so that councils can continue to deliver necessary infrastructure without being unfairly compromised," she said.
The new maximum charges will come into effect in the coming weeks.