Infrastructure Charges Reforms
The continued emphasis by the State Government on construction as one of the four pillars of the economy, and their commitment to implement a revised infrastructure funding framework, threatens to have significant impacts on local government revenue and subsequent capacity to fund new infrastructure.
The LGAQ is working to protect the revenue streams and future capacity to fund infrastructure works by our Members - this is integral to meeting the expectations of Qld communities.
Providing representation on this matter on behalf of Queensland councils, the LGAQ is seeking to
- Prevent cost-shifting to councils and the community
- Ensure a permanent framework is established
The State Government's discussion paper Options for the reform of Queensland's local infrastructure planning and charges framework claimed to provide options for establishing a long-term infrastructure planning and charges framework that would be equitable, certain and support local government's financial sustainability and development investment throughout Qld.
However, the LGAQ considers the general intent of the Paper's reform options to be squarely aimed at improving development feasibility - with none of the reforms explicitly assisting our Members' financial sustainability.
The options proposed do not include any cost-impact analysis for councils and, if implemented, are expected to result in a reduction in infrastructure charges likely leading to a depleted council revenue tagged for the construction of infrastructure.
The cost impacts of such a situation might force the average ratepayer to subsidise developers via rates charges, or alternatively leave councils unable to build necessary infrastructure due to reduced capacity.
The Association worked closely with its Members to inform the LGAQ Submission to the discussion paper.
Infrastructure charges reforms cut to the heart of local government.
The LGAQ agrees that maintaining a healthy construction and property industry is vitally important to the economy and local communities. However, forcing councils to raise rates to offset lower infrastructure charges is not the easy ‘quick-win' solution – Queensland communities cannot afford or accept further escalation in cost of living expenses for the benefit of the development industry. An equitable balance must be found that requires greater contributions from alternate funding sources for the provision of essential local government infrastructure.