Bid to cap building infrastructure costs
STIMULUS: The taskforce aims to rejuvenate the property industry with the proposed reforms QUEENSLAND’S Infrastructure Charges Taskforce has called for the introduction for three years of a new charging regime to help put the property industry back on its feet while the government undertakes reform.
In its final report yesterday, the t askforce said equity, t ransparency, accountability, reasonableness, simplicity, consistency, efficiency and neutral impact should be adopted as principles to guide the reform.
The report was welcomed by the Property Council, although it warned that failure to set charges at the right level would strangle Queensland’s property industry for a further three years.
State executive director Kathy MacDermott said it was now up to the government to deliver the reform needed to restore Queensland’s competitiveness and rebuild investor confidence.
The principles form one of 10 recommendations that include setting a maximum charge for each development, with costs for a house to sit between $ 20,000$ 30,000, and commercial charges to range from $ 90-$ 140/ sq m for bulky goods and office space, and $ 125-$ 200/ sq m for retail.
The taskforce says the government should decide maximum charges jointly with councils and developers. It calls for councils to be free to apply a revenue subsidy to slash the maximum charge, and introduction of a deferred payment system and of a standard planning regime.
The taskforce urges the government t o i nt r o d uce s t a ndard charges as early possible and says the reform process must simplify t h e p l a n n i n g a n d c h a r g i n g regime, including slashing regulatory charging requirements imposed on councils.
It says annual rises in infrastructure charges should be based on the ABS PPI Construction Index on the basis of a threeyear moving average and that the charge system’s effectiveness be monitored. It also suggests a three-year moratorium on collection for government by councils of road-network charges.
Lastly, the taskforce calls for the Local Government Association and its members to explore administration changes, including a standard charges framework accessible to the public with i nformation on development charge rates and infrastructure charges collected by councils.
It says while development conditions are outside the scope of its report, they equate to a cost impact and urges a review along with consideration of alternative appeal mechanisms and greater use of existing law to expedite significant projects.
Ms MacDermott said the taskforce ‘‘ has provided a range of charges for property types and the solution can be found in these ranges, but very much at the lower end’’.
‘‘ Locking in for a further three years the current exorbitant level of charges . . . would be a critical error that will only serve to cement Queensland’s reputation as an undesirable investment destination,’’ she said.