A ‘ dog’s break­fast’

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

TOWNSVILLE City Coun­cil is wait­ing for for­mal ad­vice from the State Gov­ern­ment be­fore mov­ing to drop its con­tentious in­fra­struc­ture charges and in­sists it did the ‘‘ right thing’’ to im­ple­ment what deputy mayor Cr David Crisa­fulli now says has been a ‘‘ dog’s break­fast’’.

‘‘ We’ll wait to see what the Min­is­ter’s for­mal re­sponse is,’’ Cr Crisa­fulli said when asked what ac­tion the coun- cil would take fol­low­ing the re­lease of the State Gov­ern­ment’s In­fra­struc­ture Charges Task­force re­port.

The re­port sig­nals a ma­jor re­think, set­ting caps on charges, i ntro­duc­ing de­ferred pay­ment mech­a­nisms and plac­ing a mora­to­rium on the col­lec­tion of fees for the use of state roads.

Deputy Premier and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Paul Lu­cas en­dorsed the re­port and said he was com­mit­ted to ‘‘ sort­ing out this is­sue’’.

Cr Crisa­fulli de­scribed the i ntro­duc­tion of t he f ees across the state as a ‘‘ dog’s break­fast’’ and claimed that coun­cils had been left ‘‘ flap- ping in the breeze’’ af­ter the state dumped bil­lion-dol­lar sub­si­dies and then urged coun­cils to meet the short­fall by ap­ply­ing more charges on de­vel­op­ment.

‘‘ What I want to see is for the in­dus­try to have cer­tainty but the sec­ond thing is the state has to be pre­pared to be part­ners and help coun­cils de­liver in­fra­struc­ture,’’ Cr Crisa­fulli said.

‘‘ We’ve seen in the last two years the gov­ern­ment walk away from com­mit­ments on r oads f und­ing and walk away from wa­ter and sew­er­age fund­ing. Their trade-off was a user pays head­works scheme which was im- ple­mented with­out any con­sis­tency across the board. What we have is a dog’s break­fast.’’

Mean­while, de­vel­op­ment in­dus­try lead­ers are call­ing for ac­tion as soon as pos­si­ble to im­ple­ment the task­force’s rec­om­men­da­tions.

Townsville branch pres­i­dent of the Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute of Aus­tralia Pat Brady said the re­port’s find­ings ac­knowl­edged that de­vel­op­ment was be­ing ‘‘ scared away’’ by full cost re­cov­ery for in­fra­struc­ture.

‘‘ We see that it is most im­por­tant to see timely adopt i on of t hese rec­om­men­da­tions, par­tic­u­larly in those lo­cal authorities where full cost re­cov­ery in­fra­struc­ture charges plans are in place, so that im­pacts are eased, and the de­vel­op­ment in­dus­try can be stim­u­lated,’’ he said.

While the re­port shows the level of Townsville’s charges are in the mid-range of the ma­jor coun­cils, many of the coun­cils have not im-ple­mented the charges.

Mean­while, Queens­land Mas­ter Builders has called for the cap on res­i­den­tial land be set at $ 20,000 and not the $ 30,000 max­i­mum quoted.

The high­est res­i­den­tial charges in Townsville at Bush­land Beach have been around $ 40,000.

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