Bill to reform infrastructure charges introduced to Queensland Parliament

THE Queensland Government this month introduced legislation to Parliament that will enable infrastructure charging reforms to commence from July 1 this year, including the establishment of standard maximum infrastructure charges.

The standard maximum residential charges will be set at $28,000 for a dwelling that has three or more bedrooms and $20,000 for one and two-bedroom dwellings.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government Paul Lucas said the Queensland Government had worked hard to get the charges right to help stimulate the building industry, create jobs and improve housing affordability.

"These maximum charges were reached following the recommendations of the independent Infrastructure Charges Taskforce," Mr Lucas said, adding that the government was forced to act because was local governments and developers "couldn't work this out between themselves."

The Infrastructure Charges Taskforce released its final report in March, outlining proposed reforms to simplify and streamline infrastructure charges for new developments to help address housing affordability and improve business confidence.

"Introducing maximum charges is a key way of assisting the recovery of the building industry whilst providing opportunities for Queensland families to purchase their own home," Mr Lucas said.

Mr Lucas said a central element of the reforms was giving local governments flexibility to choose whether they adopt maximum charges or charge lesser amounts for infrastructure.

"This will give councils the ability to choose lower infrastructure charges that are appropriate for their local communities, while stimulating construction activity and competing for investment," he said.

Mr Lucas said the amendments would not fundamentally change the existing planning system, but would simplify the current clutter and confusion around infrastructure charging arrangements.

The Property Council of Australia has argued that the caps adopted by the government are too high but accepted that the government appears committed to implementing the caps.

As a result, the Council said it will shift focus to engaging with Councils to outline to them the critical need to adopt charges below the statewide cap.

However, the Local Government Association Queensland (LGAQ) has warned that the implementation of maximum infrastructure caps will result in "overwhelming debt" to local councils, stifle development and put upward pressure on rates.

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