Dysfunctional Council & Bloated Bureaucracy Decimates City

Dysfunctional Council & Bloated Bureaucracy Decimates City

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(Gold Coast Bulletin “Council’s Killing the Coast” Nick Nichols)
approvalsThe latest figures for building approvals and starts released by the GCCC for August 2011 are disturbing to say the very least. Last month a meagre 11 building approvals were completed, started or in progress in comparison to 804 in August of 2005. In a city of 520,000 residents these figures are inclusive of commercial as well as residential buildings and only 24% of approvals are completed, in progress or started as compared to 74% in 2005. “The extent of the building downturn has more to do with council mismanagement than the financial crisis.” Nick Nichols Gold Coast Bulletin. The development industry is one of the prime industries feeding the Gold Coast economy and developers appear to have lost confidence in the city.

Development figures are steadily declining with total approvals dropping from 8,349 in 2006 to 4,951 in 2010 and 8 months into this year only 969. The city’s development industry is suffering terribly and so are Gold Coast residents due to job shortages as a direct result of the decline in construction. Meanwhile, GCCC staffing levels have scarcely changed in the last year, council has not made any plans to improve the development application process (i.e. reduce time frames, re-evaluate high infrastructure charges) and last week awarded pay rises to many staff. High infrastructure charges are vastly obstructing developments, with charges for a home on the Gold Coast costing approximately $27,000 whilst in Adelaide charges are around 10 percent of this and Melbourne charges about half. Not only is this closing the door to the development industry but it is making the cost of housing out of reach for the average family. Further to this is the recent blow to Gold Coaster’s as council announced the dumping of the planned building boost grant which would have been a timely injection to the development industry. ADC believes that this grant needs to be implemented as soon as possible to help the development industry as well as the economy and the wider community as outlined in our previous article Brick Tease, Council Grant Axed 02.08.11.

Council is well aware of these weak figures, but what are they doing about it? The building boost grant was going to come from an unallocated developer subsidy fund of $2.4 million and would have been used to stimulate development in the city by giving homebuyers/ builders up to $8,000. This would have had no impact on the budget but did not get the council go ahead and yet development figures continue to plummet. According to figures released last week by the Housing Industry Association the Gold Coast could expect a housing shortage of 8000 homes by 2020 at this current rate of development. Loyal developers and citizens alike are turning away from the Gold Coast looking for the ‘greener grass.’ ADC again urges the Council to implement the building grant scheme and re-assess infrastructure charges to avoid any further fall in development figures as well as likely increases in unemployment and crime. “The latest building figures are not due to a downturn in demand. It is a direct reflection of how a bloated bureaucracy encouraged by a group of dysfunctional councillors has decimated the most important industry to this city. “Nick Nichols Gold Coast Bulletin”

Reference: Gold Coast Bulletin “Council’s Killing the Coast” Nick Nichols Page 22, News