Queensland home buyers will be slugged with a new State Government tax following the passing of the Urban Land Development Bill last night.
Property Council Executive Director, Robert Walker, said while the property industry was generally supportive of much of the provisions within the ULDA, the imposition of yet another Beattie Government tax grab would add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home.
“It’s ironic that in legislation the Government claims will improve housing affordability, they have introduced a new State Infrastructure Charge for masterplanned areas – a
tax by another name - which will slug new home buyers and exacerbate the housing affordability crisis,” Mr Walker said.
Under the legislation, the State Government is able to hit developers with a State Infrastructure Charge to cover the cost of infrastructure within masterplanned areas.
“The property industry acknowledges the need to ensure new communities have access to adequate infrastructure, but a new tax on development is not the answer,” Mr Walker said.
Mr Walker said Section 94 infrastructure charges applied by the New South Wales State Government add as much as $50,000 to the cost of a new dwelling and Queenslanders could expect the same.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that any charge levied at developers will be built into the sale price of the new home,” Mr Walker said.
“New homes comprise around two per cent of all homes in the market, so what the Government is doing is allowing two per cent of the population pay for infrastructure that will benefit the remaining 98 per cent, and for generations to come.
“It’s interesting to hear the Government defend the new tax, claiming it’s not a new tax because it was flagged in the South East Queensland Regional Plan.
“But at the end of the day, when you cut out all the rhetoric and spin – a tax that has never been charged before is still a new tax!”
Mr Walker said the industry was appalled at the lack of consultation on the introduction of the new tax, claiming industry was first made aware of its inclusion in the Bill during a rushed briefing on 9 August.
“The consultation on this provision can only be described as the type of consultation you have when you don’t want consultation,” Mr Walker said.
“Despite months of meetings with the Government, there was no mention of the new tax until we were recently handed a 217 page draft Bill, given no time to consider it in any detail, no opportunity to provide feedback and were made to hand the document back on our way out the door.
“The industry’s repeated requests to meet with the Deputy Premier to discuss the issue have fallen on deaf ears. Clearly she didn’t like what we had to say because there’s just no way you can justify including a new tax as part of measure to improve housing affordability.”
Mr Walker said despite claims of accountability and transparency, there was no schedule to indicate what charges may be and nothing to identify what was a “reasonable apportionment” of infrastructure charges.
“The Government has introduced a new tax, but won’t tell the people of Queensland how it will work or what cost it will impose.”
The Property Council is also concerned private land owners may be left high-and-dry and out-of-pocket as a result of s204 of the Act which removes the obligation on councils and the State Government to compensate for the loss in value of land as a result of masterplanning.
Under the new laws, if someone owns a block of business, industrial or residential zoned land and it is rezoned as parkland, there is no mechanism for adequate compensation – the landholder is left with a worthless piece of land.