Cairns Regional Council likely to extend builders' discount
A DEVELOPERS' discount designed to spur building activity in Cairns looks likely to be extended to the end of the year.
The Cairns Regional Council is today expected to vote in favour of extending the infrastructure charges discount to allow successful applicants time to begin work on their projects.
Planning and sustainability committee chairman Cr Terry James said he would support moves to introduce another round of discounts to help new projects get off the ground.
"It aims to provide a catalyst for the construction industry and it’s something that can generate jobs," he said.
Council figures released to The Cairns Post show the number of building approvals in the city is slowly returning to normal levels after a rocky seven months.
The planning department had approved 2349 applications between the start of the year and the end of May.
The infrastructure charges discount was introduced in April last year to give developers incentive to get projects to the shovel-ready stage.
Thirty-two project managers will have almost $4 million deducted from their headworks fees, which are paid to the council to connect developments to general infrastructure such as sewage networks and local roads.
Cr James said the deadlines for successful developers to claim their discount could be extended to give them more time to progress their projects, many of which were behind schedule because of the wet season and access to finance.
"It can take up to a year from when they get the idea for the project to when they dig the dirt," he said.
"This (discount) can make the project a bit more viable."
Urban Development Institute of Australia Cairns branch president Gerard Obersky said the council needed to ensure it granted discounts to genuine projects, not developers who used the scheme to improve the values of their properties.
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Positive sign: Council figures released to The Cairns Post show the number of building approvals in the city is slowly returning to normal levels after a rocky seven months.