INFRASTRUCTURE FEE OVERHAUL A STEP CLOSER

Written on the 9 November 2009 by Tom Reid

INFRASTRUCTURE FEE OVERHAUL A STEP CLOSER

A CAUCUS of property industry experts will negotiate with Gold Coast City Council on the next step toward a new infrastructure planning framework on Monday November 9.

The recommendation has come from a late bill in yesterday’s Sustainable City Future Committee meeting. The six-man joint policy group will negotiate with council on temporary infrastructure relief and other suggested long-term measures.

The industry group consists of Greg Short, Sustainable Development Gold Coast Inc president; Peter Trathen, Property Council of Australia Gold Coast committee chairman; Michael Roberts, Housing Industry Association, assistant director of planning and environment Queensland; John Duncalfe, Master Builders Gold Coast regional manager; David Ransom, Sustainable Development Gold Coast Inc technical representative and Col Dutton, UDIA Gold Coast president.

Dutton is optimistic that Monday’s meeting will work to resolve council’s complex and dated infrastructure fee system. Recommendations include an offer to developers for a 35 per cent discount for residential and 65 per cent discount for non residential infrastructure charges.

It is part of a four-point plan, which also includes: scrapping development levies for stormwater works; placing a freeze on water and wastewater charges; and immediately implementing the Temporary Local Planning Instrument which charges developers only for what they build, instead of the potential of the site under the planning schemes.

“In the short term (the group) is going to look at how we can stimulate the development and construction industries so members of the city’s largest workforce have more chances to secure employment, and in the long-term, it will address how infrastructure charges should be levied,’’ he says.

“At the PIP (Priority Infrastructure Plan) Forum we had with Council last month, industry sensed that councillors and council officers had come to the realisation that infrastructure charges have an impact on the wider Gold Coast economy, not just the development and construction industries. I’m very optimistic about what can be achieved for the city through the policy group.’’

The council moved in August to fast-track development of a temporary planning instrument (TLPI) which would result in developers paying charges only for what they build and not for what could ultimately be constructed on site.

Sustainable City Future Committee Chairperson Councillor Peter Young, says the measure now requires council endorsement on Monday and if successful will be in place for 12 months.

"This is the maximum time which the legislation allows us to apply the temporary planning instrument, but if necessary we might be able to seek the consent of the state to extend this period," he says."Now, as we appear to be entering the early economic recovery phase, the TLPI should provide an additional incentive for the development industry. We hope this measure will help encourage and energise the industry, as well as provide relief to the smaller mum and dad developers, at this time."


Author: Tom Reid

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