THE Infrastructure Charges Taskforce, established by the Queensland Government last year in response to the Queensland Growth Management Summit, has released its final report, providing ten recommendations for reform.
The Taskforce was tasked with reviewing the infrastructure charging regime for local infrastructure with a view to streamlining processes, simplifying and standardising charging arrangements where possible.
The report outlines reforms aiming to simplify and streamline infrastructure charges for new developments to help address housing affordability and improve business confidence in Queensland.
"The report recommends a range of short and long term measures to make the infrastructure charging system simpler and more transparent and should help drive down development costs in Queensland," Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government and Planning Paul Lucas said.
"Infrastructure charges can add up to $40,000 or more to the cost of a new home, and the aim of this sweeping review is to give developers and the community more confidence that the charges are fair and reasonable."
"With this report, the State Government is seeking to resolve seemingly irreconcilable differences between councils and developers," Mr Lucas said, adding that in Queensland, infrastructure charges are generally levied by Councils.
"Despite this being largely a matter between developers and local councils, the State Government is committed to sorting out this issue so we can continue to see development in Queensland which brings jobs and housing affordability."
The report's recommendations include:
- Adoption of principles as a guide to improving the current infrastructure charging system;
- Introduction and implementation of a maximum standard charges framework;
- Arrangements be put in place to manage payment, distribution and apportionment of standard charges;
- Maximum standard charges to be applied in a standard planning regime;
- Maximum standard charges to be introduced as soon as possible and be set for three years from commencement;
- Maximum standard charges to be escalated annually by a specified cost index;
- Standard charges to be monitored and an ex-post evaluation conducted;
- Longer term reforms to infrastructure planning and charging to be undertaken;
- A moratorium to be placed on the collection of local function charges for three years; and
- Appropriate improvements to be explored in the administration of infrastructure charges.
In its report, the Taskforce also acknowledged that potential reform of the infrastructure charging regime is only one element of a wider development reform program, which includes improvements to development application assessment timeframes.
Mr Lucas said the Queensland Government would now examine the recommendations before releasing a response shortly.
The Taskforce members were Paul Low (chair), Jude Munro, Greg Hallam, John Mulcahy, Chris Freeman, Grant Dennis, Alex Beavers, Warren Rowe and Jim Long.