CRC incentive program ‘does not do enough’
CAIRNS Regional Council has launched an infrastructure charges incentive program to stimulate employment-generating development in the Douglas region.
But local builders say this isn’t good enough as it only helps wealthy developers.
Port Douglas Builders owners Jim Dormer and Mike Clark agreed only the big developers would gain financially from the program.
“Any fees and charges dropped have to be a good thing but if the council really wanted to kick-start the economy in Port Douglas and Mossman region it would get started on the lagoon tomorrow,” Mr Dormer said.
“We would love the chance to quote to do the work and keep all of our tradies and apprentices working but forget us for the moment - it needs to be started on tomorrow and with local contractors and tradies doing the work.
“It’s these solid infrastructure works that are needed if we are to get the economy going again in the region.
“Letting developers off from paying infrastructure charges does not create jobs and put men on building sites.”
Business partner Mike Clark said dropping infrastructure charges was just lining the developers’ pockets.
“We need real on-the-ground projects such as many homes being built and a sizeable factory that produces something of substance and it in turn it needs hundreds of workers,” Mr Clark said.
“Then people would come here for the work and they would need homes and everyone has work and we’re all moving forward - we can’t just stop and stagnate.”
Local developer Andy Taylor, who was involved with the Town and Country site in Mossman, said council’s program wasn’t a bad thing but they “need to be fair dinkum” about it.
“In my case, as an example, I had put in development applications twice with the council to develop the Town and Country site in Mossman and was knocked back,” he said.
“I’m not crying foul because I did not get the application but we were knocked back on some minor technicalities - we could have worked through those with the council and we would have a viable project up and running and employing many people.”
Having been knocked back twice, Mr Taylor said he would not be applying for a third time.
Mayor Bob Manning said the program will target retail, commercial and industrial development, as well as development of significant community benefit, to encourage development within the region and create opportunities for both short-term and longterm employment.
“We want to give developers that extra incentive to get their projects off the ground,” Mr Manning said.
One of the criteria is that a minimum 80 per cent of the construction workforce and supplies are to be locally sourced.
To be eligible for a discount on infrastructure charges, an applicant needs to demonstrate ongoing economic benefit and commit to having their project completed by November 30, 2014.
Up to 100 per cent of infrastructure charges can be waived on a successful project and the overall discount approval amount has not been capped.
Applications for the first round of discounts can be lodged from July 16 until August 24.
Looking for a level playing field: Mike Clark and business partner Jim Dormer