STATE URGED TO MAKE QUICK DECISION ON INFRASTRUCTURE REFORM

STATE URGED TO MAKE QUICK DECISION ON INFRASTRUCTURE REFORM

QUEENSLAND’S peak housing and construction industry body has thrown its support behind the State Government’s Infrastructure Charges Taskforce report, but is urging for a quick decision.

Master Builders director of housing policy Paul Bidwell, says many of the recommendations will improve housing affordability but further measures should be implemented.

“Our major concern is the setting of a maximum for residential development. The Taskforce is recommending a charge of $20,000 to $30,000 per house for trunk infrastructure, which includes water, sewerage, stormwater, roads and parks,” says Bidwell.

“In our response to the taskforce, Master Builders put forward a strong case to have these charges capped at a maximum of $20,000. Anything beyond that is excessive and will have major repercussions for housing affordability.

“The current charges vary greatly between local governments; for example around $15,000 in Logan City to more than $40,000 in Redlands. Our position is that the cost of providing trunk infrastructure should be shared by developers and rate payers.

“While we support the concept of a cap, as it is simple and provides the industry with a level of certainty, we believe that there is no basis for a figure exceeding $20,000.”

Bidwell says Queensland has ‘some of the most unaffordable housing in the world’, and has also been suffering from high interest rates, subdued consumer confidence and tight lending criteria.

He says action needs to be taken sooner rather than later.

“We are now at the cross roads on the issue of infrastructure charges and a decision must be made regarding the capping of charges,” he says.

“The government has made it clear that this is not an issue to be discussed at the Building Revival Forum on 12 April 2011, so it is important they make a decision quickly.

“Infrastructure charges are just one of a number of important issues to rectify so we can get the building industry back on the slow road to recovery.”

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