Local government infrastructure includes water supply and reticulation, sewage treatment, local roads, stormwater management and parks.
The department reviewed the existing framework in 2013 and 2014 to introduce reforms that enhance the clarity, equity and consistency of the system.
As part of this review, the public were invited to have their say on the proposed changes. The department received more than 80 submissions from interested stakeholders on how the local government infrastructure charges framework could best support a growing, sustainable and prosperous Queensland.
Infrastructure planning and charging framework
Following the review, the department has produced an 'Infrastructure planning and charging framework' that strikes a balance between local government financial sustainability and property development feasibility.
The new framework:
- retains the regulated maximum infrastructure charges set under the State Planning Regulatory Provision
- provides transparent and consistent changes to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA) that reduce red tape and provide a level playing field for developers and councils.
Fact sheets are available to provide advice about specific elements of the infrastructure planning and charging framework.
Amendments to the SPA and SEQ Water Act
Amendments to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and the South East Queensland Water (Distribution and Retail Restructuring) Act 2009, which commenced early July, were required to support the implementation of the reformed infrastructure framework. These amendments have been progressed through the Sustainable Planning (Infrastructure Charges) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 which was passed by parliament on 4 June 2014. These explanation notes provide more information about the Bill.
Some of the key amendments to the SPA and the SEQ Water Act include:
- the requirement to recognise the existing use of land and reduce charges to take account of that use. This is commonly known as a 'credit'
- the requirement to be more transparent about why an infrastructure condition is imposed
- introduction of a process for an applicant to apply to convert non-trunk infrastructure to trunk infrastructure. This new process also impacts whether a developer is entitled to an offset or refund against their infrastructure charge
- clarification that payment of infrastructure charges cannot occur before plan sealing for a development approval or before time of connection for a water approval, unless agreed to by the local authority and applicant
- clarification about the types of infrastructure appeals that can be lodged and the introduction of new appeal rights for the above mentioned conversion process and crediting.
Fair value infrastructure charges schedule
As part of the infrastructure planning and charges framework review, a study was undertaken to analyse the relationship between demand and the cost to provide development with essential infrastructure to support it.
This work resulted in the development of the fair value infrastructure charges schedule ( 345 KB).
Compared to the maximum charges set by the state under the State Planning Regulatory Provision (adopted charges) ( 134 KB), the fair value infrastructure charges schedule includes a 10 per cent cost reduction for charges for residential development and 15 per cent reduction for non-residential development.
In addition, the proposed schedule has:
- an expanded and more differentiated list of land use categories
- additional charge categories to align charges and demand for infrastructure.
While the State Planning Regulatory Provision (adopted charges) identifies the prescribed maximum infrastructure charges set by the state, local governments are encouraged to adopt the lower and more refined infrastructure charges proposed under the non-mandatory fair value infrastructure charges schedule.
Frequently asked questions
Why are the reforms needed?
What consultation has been undertaken and what were the key issues?
Why aren't the maximum charges being adjusted?
When is a local government planning scheme required to include an LGIP?
Will a local government be able to levy infrastructure charges from the commencement of the new framework and onwards if they do not have an adopted infrastructure charges resolution?
What happens to an existing charges resolution and distributor-retailer board decisions on commencement of the new framework?
What is the process, criteria, parameters and impacts of the conversion process in relation to trunk and non-trunk infrastructure?
What are the anticipated impacts and timeframes of the changes to the offset and refund provisions?
What is the intent of the planned versus actual values provision and what do local authorities have to do in preparation?
Why is it important to mandate the provision of credits for existing lawful use rights?
What changes have been made to the appeals and dispute resolution process?
How do the changes affect infrastructure agreements?
How do the amendments to the SEQ Water Act differ from the amendments to SPA?
What happens, if a local government and a distributor-retailer do not agree on the split of the maximum charge?
How will the transition between the current framework and the new framework be managed?
Setting infrastructure charges
The State Planning Regulatory Provision (adopted charges) 2012 (SPRP) ( 134 KB) sets a limit on the amount a local authority can levy a development for local infrastructure.
Local authorities still have the flexibility to set charges for their region provided the charges are below the maximum charge. This provides a level of certainty for the development industry that infrastructure charges will remain under the maximum amount while still supporting the provision of critical infrastructure by local authorities.
Local governments that levy infrastructure charges are required to set their infrastructure charge rates by making an adopted infrastructure charges resolution. For more information about your council area's adopted infrastructure charge resolution, contact your local government office. Find your local council's contact details. Local governments are required to published their infrastructure charges resolution on their web pages.
Until 30 June 2016 local councils that do not have an infrastructure plan can choose to include a priority infrastructure area (PIA) map in the SPRP. The Sustainable Planning Act 2009, section 977, allows local governments to apply to the Planning Minister for an extension of this date to a date not later than 30 June 2018. A PIA map identifies the areas that a local government will give priority in providing infrastructure services to accommodate future growth. View the current local government PIA maps. These maps will be superseded once a local government adopts its infrastructure plan.
South-East Queensland local councils set infrastructure charges for:
Water supply and waste water infrastructure charges are set by water distributor-retailers (Queensland Urban Utilities and Unity Water). The local government and distributor-retailers total infrastructure charge is limited to the maximum infrastructure charge.