DEVELOPERS' costs will be slashed under sweeping changes by the state government designed to provide more affordable housing.
But the changes could lead to ratepayers having to foot the bill more if developers don't pay enough for services like water, sewerage, storm water, roads and parks.
Premier Anna Bligh said the reforms, which are based on proposals by the independent Infrastructure Charges Taskforce, will give certainty to the building industry and make housing easier to build and more affordable to buy in Queensland.
Ms Bligh said a key element of the reforms is setting maximum charges for trunk infrastructure, which includes water, sewerage, storm water, roads and parks.
- These standard maximum residential charges will be set at $28,000for a dwelling that has three or more bedrooms, and set at $20,000 for one and two-bedroom dwellings. Under the current system these charges have been reported by industry as high as $50,000 and $30,000 respectively.
- Standard maximum charges for non-residential development will range between $50 and $200 per square metre of gross floor area depending on the development type. A stormwater charge per square metre will also apply. Under the current system these non-residential charges have been reported as high as $524 per square metre for retail and $251 per square metre for offices.
Annual increases in local government infrastructure charges will be limited to infrastructure CPI* giving absolute certainty to industry.
- A moratorium on the collection of local function charges for the use of state roads - a key stimulatory measure which will save the industry up to $30 to $40 million a year.
- Deferred payments meaning developers can pay charges at settlement rather than at the beginning of the planning process - providing a major boost in obtaining finance for projects.
Deputy Premier and Attorney-General, Minister for Local Government and Special Minister of State Paul Lucas said the Government was not introducing a blanket cap.
"Rather we are introducing maximum standard charges and we are retaining the ability for councils to charge less than the maximums if they wish," he said.
"A central element of the reforms is giving local governments flexibility to choose whether they adopt the maximum charges or to charge lesser amounts.
"This will give them the ability to choose lower infrastructure charges as a way of stimulating construction and competing for development."
Mr Lucas said the simplicity and transparency of the new reforms would assist both councils and developers.
"These reforms will provide greater certainty in the way councils calculate infrastructure charges, giving developers more confidence so we can continue to see development in Queensland which brings jobs and housing affordability."
It is proposed that the reforms will come into effect from 1 July this year.
Overhauling Queensland's infrastructure charging regime was one of the key initiatives to come out of the State Government's Growth Management Summit in March 2010.
The Government has also agreed to extend the current 30 June 2011 deadline for the adoption of Priority Infrastructure Plans to 31 December 2011.
"Bringing in standard charges effectively sets aside the need for councils to complete complicated infrastructure charges schedules as part of their PIPs," said Mr Lucas.
"The continuation of the important planning work contained in a PIP coupled with the introduction of standard charges provides a strong platform for Queensland's infrastructure planning and charging regime."
The Government's response to the Infrastructure Charges Taskforce report is available at www.dip.qld.gov.au/ict.
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