Chance of cheaper housing

MORE affordable Fraser Coast homes could be on the State Government’s agenda for next year if it adopts a task force’s sweeping reforms to government and council development charges.

The new report, from the independent Infrastructure Charges Taskforce, would reduce the costs of new homes and provide a vital stimulus to the state’s struggling property industry, Premier Anna Bligh said.

The Fraser Coast council’s average water, sewerage, parks, stormwater and transport infrastructure charges just to build a house are $26,902.

That is higher than Logan City, Townsville, Cairns, Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast. Only the Gold Coast and Brisbane are higher.

The Fraser Coast council’s average charges to build an apartment total $15,574 – again higher than the five councils mentioned above. Brisbane and the Gold Coast only are higher.

The report’s 14 recommendations include:

Capped charges: the introduction of uniform maximum standard infrastructure fee for different types of developments;

A State Government subsidy for three years to reduce the Transport and Main Roads Local Functions Charges and Charges to only be indexed annually by a regulated formula.

"State and council infrastructure charges can add more than $40,000 to the cost of a new home and this is pricing many out of the market," said Ms Bligh.

“By capping these charges at between $20,000 and $30,000 we will help make housing more affordable, and this will help stimulate construction and create more jobs.”

Housing Industry Association Queensland executive director Warwick Temby urged state and local government to adopt the taskforce’s recommendations as a package and introduce them as a matter of urgency.

“The current unpredictable and costly approach to infrastructure charges has added more than $70,000 to the cost of a block of land.”

Property Council of Australia Queensland executive director Kathy MacDermott said the release of this report was a turning point in the critical issue of infrastructure charges, which had seen industry and local governments at loggerheads for too long.

“Unfortunately the drastic increases in infrastructure charges levied on new developments by state and local governments over recent years has contributed to the decline in housing affordability and eroded the viability of doing business in Queensland for large non-residential property investors,” Ms MacDermott said.



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