Queensland Parliament passes Bill to cap infrastructure charges

QUEENSLAND Parliament last week passed the Sustainable Planning (Housing Affordability and Infrastructure Charges Reform) Amendment Bill 2011, allowing for the introduction of a cap on infrastructure charges.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government, Paul Lucas, said the Queensland Government's overhaul of the infrastructure charging system would stimulate growth and in turn generate jobs and improve housing affordability.

The Minister said the passing of the Bill will "provide transparency and certainty to developers and home buyers and will help get the ball rolling on development again." He said the legislation passed the House with only two votes opposed.

Maximum prices for trunk infrastructure charges on new development include $28,000 for a dwelling with three or more bedrooms and $20,000 for one and two-bedroom dwellings.

Maximum charges have also been set for commercial, retail and industrial development.

Local governments will have the flexibility to choose whether they adopt the maximum charges, or charge lesser amounts.

"The new rules give councils the ability to choose lower infrastructure charges that are appropriate for their local communities, while stimulating construction activity and competing for investment," Mr Lucas said.

Mr Lucas said this legislation would now be followed by a consultation process with local government and the development industry over the regulatory provisions to implement the charges regime.

The Property Council of Australia has argued that the caps adopted by the government are too high and called on councils to adopt charges below the caps.

However, the Local Government Association of Queensland has warned that the implementation of maximum infrastructure caps will result in local councils incurring substantial debt and put upward pressure on rates.

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