QUEENSLAND Treasurer Andrew Fraser today conceded further economic strife on the horizon just eight weeks out from delivering the State Budget.
In a typically staid delivery, the Treasurer addressed Gold Coast property stalwarts and Property Council members at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, where further pressures on the industry were outlined.
Fraser urged attendees to capitalise on the mining boom and to focus on the positives of State Government-funded infrastructure in the city.
“With fly in, fly out, you can be back on the Gold Coast surfing on the weekends,” he says.
“It’s going to be a difficult budget; there are challenges, but it’s absolutely clear that without a property industry, the challenges for the state are compounded, not avoided.
“It seems to me the hangover on the Gold Coast is bigger than most other places - maybe because the party here was bigger to start with.”
Attending his second property function for the day to speak at the Property Council’s the State’s Priorities for Revitalising This Regional Economy, Fraser highlighted the Government’s commitment to jobs via the Gold Coast University Hospital, Robina Heath Precinct, and Carrara AFL Stadium.
“Imagine if those projects were not here, what would happen?” he says.
He also spoke of reforms to the kerb the state’s astronomical development infrastructure charges and the Gold Coast’s out of control PIP charges.
Under the proposed move, the maximum council charges for trunk infrastructure including water, sewerage, storm water and roads would be substantially lowered from July 1. The current system means building a three-bedroom residential dwelling could incur up to $50,000 in infrastructure charges, but this could soon be capped to $28,000.
“There will be an ongoing and enduring debate around the figure,” says Fraser.
“I think we’re in danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater here. For us (State Government) it’s a mug’s game; the test is if the boxing around the ears we’re going to get is coming from both sides. The success for us is making sure we have a regime of certainty. The ‘x factor’ of charges is that it all moves so quickly under their feet (developers).”
He says the onus is now on Gold Coast City Council to create a better dialogue with the industry.
“I can find a lot of people that tell me they don’t mind working with either Logan City Council or Redland Shire Council, but rarely is there a positive regarding developer dealings with the Gold Coast City Council. That’s not a political statement, that’s what we’re seeing,” he says.
“Property developers and local governments aren’t ever going to agree on this and that’s an issue that’s come before the government. In the end certainty is what’s required and when you rule on the sand then that means that people can take it forward.”
Fraser says that while the city is doing it tough in property and tourism, the Gold Coast had a lucky escape during the floods.
“The Gold Coast escaped the dramas and events at the start of the year; events that napalmed confidence across the broader state economy,” he says.
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