UDIA research translates into policy change for council reporting

This month the State Government announced greater transparency and accountability on the expenditure of Infrastructure Charges paid by the Queensland development industry to councils.

This is an important step toward ensuring the community is more informed about the collection of Infrastructure Charges in their neighbourhood.

We first called for transparency of Infrastructure Charges paid by developers in September 2017 following on from insights gained through the work of our Research Foundation. The government’s announcement highlights the important work conducted by the Industry Leaders Research Group in understanding the community’s views on development and population growth challenges.

Through our research we found that the community does not realise these charges are collected, or how they are spent locally, so they consequently feel there is little to offset the pressures associated with accommodating a growing population. The current lack of publicly available information has undermined genuine engagement with the community on these development issues.

From 1 January 2020, Queensland councils will be required to publish online the value of Infrastructure Charges received, and how and where these funds are spent. This will include publishing information such as Infrastructure Charges notices and documents used in the review, creation or amendment of a local government infrastructure plan.

The Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning highlighted that the development industry plays a significant role in building and contributing to infrastructure. He noted that developers pay significant amounts to local governments to build and upgrade infrastructure to support their development, so it’s important the community knows where councils are spending these funds.

Infrastructure contributions are among the largest revenue sources for local governments. For the development industry, its contribution to the provision of new infrastructure that maintains and improves the liveability of communities will be available for all to see. It can also bring to light the efforts of local government in providing infrastructure.

This is a significant and positive outcome as it has the potential to change the conversation developers have when engaging with the community around development. It will also increase the community’s knowledge of the role our members play as community builders.

We are so pleased to see our Research Foundation, presented by Construction Skills Queensland, influencing change that is meaningful to the way we talk about development in this great State.