Red tape delays
Charges force developers to play out new tactics
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.