Infrastructure charges bad for business

GOLD Coast City Council infrastructure charges are causing job losses and having an adverse impact on the property industry and small business, according to State Opposition leader John-Paul Langbroek.

“Infrastructure charges on Gold Coast developments are clearly an impediment to jobs,” Langbroek told a group at a recent Institute of Business Leaders function.

Property developers are feeling the pinch with one Yatala-based company forced to pay almost $750,000 in charges on two industrial holdings. Managing director of Ivory Property, Colin Ivory, had to sell one of his factories to pay the levy.

“Council is going to kill development on the Coast,” says Ivory.

“We have been forced to sell one of our properties, but now they are not going to give us a certificate of classification. It is costing us a fortune in legal fees and we are struggling because of this whole thing.”

Ivory Property developed the two properties at a cost of $17 million in 2006. At the time, council advised the company that a $178,000 transport levy would apply. Three years later, Ivory has been slapped with charges of $336,000 and $410,000 for its respective 4350 sq m and 5100 sq m sheds.

“All I did was build the buildings,” says Ivory.

“There needs to be a restructure of these charges and who should pay them. Once the properties are tenanted, maybe they can be folded into rates and spread on or when the properties are making returns. The thing that other developers should be aware of is that council does not tell you that you only have 20 days to act, otherwise you don’t have a leg to stand on.”

Ivory is also critical of the UDIA, labelling the organisation a ‘toothless tiger’ for not doing more to protect the industry.

Budget supermarket chain Aldi pulled plans to establish additional stores on the Coast after it was hit with the charges. Various other small businesses have been stung, including The Executive Institute of Management at Helensvale, where 5 per cent of its annual turnover will go to GCCC coffers.

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