A ‘ dog’s breakfast’
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.