Fears developer discounts could blow council budget
FRUSTRATED Cairns councillors want to stop giving multi-million dollar discounts to developers because they fear the hand-outs will leave the cupboards bare for future budgets.Cairns Regional Council has slashed about $14 million of headworks charges for developers since 2011 under schemes that were celebrated for helping to revive the construction sector.
But some councillors say the industry has turned a corner and ratepayers should stop subsidising developers' projects, causing a rift between other councillors who insist CRC needs to remain developer-friendly.
The former council waived $2 million of infrastructure charges for 12 construction projects in 2011 that contributed more than $43 million to the local economy.
The latest round of discounts, launched by the Bob Manning-led council last year, is expected to kickstart 24 construction projects with a combined value of $400 million. But the discounts will leave a $12 million hole in a future budget.
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Dilemma: Discounts for developers in Cairns are in doubt as Cairns Regional Council debates the shortfall in its budget.