Red tape de­lays

Charges force de­vel­op­ers to play out new tac­tics

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor - by Tony Rag­gatt tony.rag­gatt@townsville­bul­letin.com.au

COM­MER­CIAL de­velop-ments in Townsville are start­ing to be de­layed and dis­missed be­cause of the higher level of in­fra­struc­ture charges which a real so pres­sur­ing price in­creases on res­i­den­tial land, ac­cord­ing to the Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute of Aus­tralia.

The Townsville branch pres­i­dent of the UDIA Pat Brady was com­ment­ing on the re­lease of a draft re­port by the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion into plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment reg­u­la­tion in Aus­tralia which found states and coun­cils were suf­fer­ing from ‘‘ ob­jec­tive overload’’ and the de­vel­op­ment in­dus­try was be­ing hit by in­creas­ingly com­plex reg­u­la­tion and high com­pli­ance costs.

Es­tab­lished busi­nesses were also ‘‘play­ing’’ the ap­peal sys­tem to block competition.

‘‘The reg­u­la­tions and agen­cies in­volved in plan­ning, zon­ing and de­vel­op­ment as­sess­ments are among the most com­plex reg­u­la­tory regimes op­er­at­ing in Aus­tralia,’’ the draft re­port says.

It con­firms the level of in­fra­struc­ture charges on res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment in Queens­land is the sec­ond only to NSW.

Mr Brady said it was rea­son­able to think t he stronger de­vel­op­ment mar- ket in Vic­to­ria was be­cause of that state’s more pro­gres­sive de­vel­op­ment laws and lower in­fra­struc­ture charges of the east­ern states.

He said the in­sti­tute was await­ing the out­come of Queens­land’s in­fra­struc­ture t ask­force whose deli be­ra­tions into in­tro­duc­ing a cap on res­i­den­tial in­fra­struc­ture charges had been de­layed be­cause of re­cent flood­ing.

‘‘ My feed­back is that in the non res­i­den­tial (de­velop-ment) area, we are start­ing to see projects that are be­ing de­ferred or de­layed or dis­missed be­cause they can’t stack up with the new level of charges, even with the dis­counts be­ing of­fered by the coun­cil,’’ he said.

‘‘ In res­i­den­tial ( de­vel­op­ment), we are start­ing to see some pres­sure on the pric­ing of lots.’’

Mr Brady said coun­cils were strain­ing un­der the in­tro­duc­tion of four or five new state plan­ning poli­cies to the ex­tent that even the length of time of as­sess­ment was caus­ing projects to be de­ferred.

‘‘ De­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions are tak­ing be­tween 18 months and three to four years for ap­proval,’’ he said.

‘‘That should be a sign we might be over-reg­u­lat­ing.’’

MrBrady said some de­vel­op­ers in the past in Townsville had used ap­peal pro­cesses, where there was no right of cost re­cov­ery, as a tac­tic. He said the the sys­tem needed to be tight­ened with bet­ter leg­is­la­tion and in­clu­sion of rights to re­cov­ery of costs.

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