Times are tough but Tony Nioa only has two buildings at his North Bunderberg Industrial park left to lease.
Times are tough but Tony Nioa only has two buildings at his North Bunderberg Industrial park left to lease. RON BURGIN

Developers form new branch

BUNDABERG developers are forming a group to fight back against local government legislation they claim has held back millions of dollars worth of growth in the region.

After new state government infrastructure charges were introduced in July, 2008, developer Tony Nioa scrapped plans to build a $25 million extension to his successful industrial estate in North Bundaberg.

He said the changes meant that fees for sewage, roads and other infrastructure jumped 40% overnight, adding $1.5million to the cost of the project.

“It was a $25 million project that won’t happen because the local government legislation made it unviable,” Mr Nioa said.

But Mr Noia said his own project was just one of many that had been put on ice in the face of soaring costs.

“The charges are too high, and the margins aren’t there, so people are not going ahead with developments,” he said.

Developer Bill Moorhead criticised legislation put in place in December that prevents approval of developments that do not fit the zoning of land.

“It’s effectively put a moratorium on developments outside existing areas, until the Bundaberg Regional Council puts out its own plan – and that could take three or four years,” he said.

“It means that the council has no flexibility in what it can approve – anything that is not zoned correctly will not even be looked at.”

Mr Moorhead said the changes had discouraged people from pursuing new developments.

“It’s blatantly hypocritical of the state government to talk about the need for affordability while they are pushing up prices for people who want to buy land,” he said.

“At a time when the market is not going forward, these rules are pushing the cost of developments higher and higher.”

Mr Noia and Mr Moorhead will join other developers in an organised effort to combat the local government’s fees and rules.

“These are just some of the issues that need to be addressed if developments are to go ahead,” Mr Moorhead said.

The two men hope to help create a Bundaberg branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, a representative body for developers.

The inaugural public meeting of the group will be at the Bundaberg Regional Council Chambers function room from 12.15pm on February 12.

Mr Moorhead said office bearers would be elected at the first meeting, the group hoped to meet regularly and anyone could attend.

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