Media Release – COUNCIL LAUNCHES INCENTIVES TO STIMULATE DEVELOPMENT

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An unprecedented initiative by Bundaberg Regional Council’s Development Assessment Group has squarely targeted the region’s sluggish development sector to stimulate growth and employment.

Council’s Planning and Development portfolio spokesperson, Cr Ross Sommerfeld said Council had launched its “Bundaberg – Open for Development” strategy which offers substantial discounts on development applications and infrastructure charges.

“We have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bundaberg Branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) that seeks to encourage development and create employment opportunities.”

Cr Sommerfeld said the UDIA submitted that costs associated with applications and infrastructure charges were acting as a deterrent to development and that a framework of Council sanctioned discounts would act as a catalyst for resurgence.

“Council has created a range of discounts that target a broad range of development types including commercial, industrial, educational and medical in locations across the region including Childers, Gin Gin, Bargara and the Bundaberg CBD,” he said.

“For these targeted developments where located in Council’s identified Priority Infrastructure Areas (except for rural industry) a 10% reduction in application fees for applications lodged by June 30 next year will apply.”

“Additionally, discounts for infrastructure charges ranging between 25% and 75% will apply for development projects with construction commencing after September 1 this year. These are substantial incentives and applications to access these discounts close on August 29, 2014.”

UDIA Bundaberg Branch President Bill Moorhead congratulated Council on these new targeted incentives.

“It is in the interest of the whole community that good quality developments in the most appropriate areas are encouraged,” Mr Moorhead said.

“One of the best ways is to do exactly what Bundaberg Regional Council has done in this unprecedented and clever move. By offering very significant infrastructure charge reductions for targeted and mainly infill projects, we should get things moving quickly.

“There are numerous shovel-ready projects where developers have been sitting on their hands. This should be exactly what is needed to kick-start some serious building activity.”

Cr Sommerfeld said Council was delighted to progress these and other initiatives aimed at encouraging development across the region. 

“Council also offers a totally free service for developers where they can attend pre-lodgement meetings with senior Council Development staff who are also decision makers. We also provide a dedicated Senior Planner for Major Projects who is the go-to person for applicants and consultants to discuss their projects.”

He said Council had a commitment to fast tracking development and has signed up to the State Government’s Development Assessment Innovation Project which was a new initiative that reduces red tape and trims overall assessment times.

“These initiatives will not compromise the integrity of planning and development decisions but will enhance the key outcomes Council is seeking to achieve.

“We are endeavouring to provide developers with every opportunity to progress projects and deliver economic growth and job creation opportunities across the region,” Cr Sommerfeld said.

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