Charges waived to fast track $400m worth of projects in Cairns

Posted on 3rd Oct 2012 under News

Charges waived to fast-track $400m worth of projects in Cairns

TWENTY-two construction projects, worth about $400 million, have been fast-tracked for completion after the council slashed millions of dollars in headworks charges for developers.

It is the second time Cairns Regional Council has tried to revive the construction sector by waiving the front-end fees that often prevent developers from getting their projects off the ground.

Councillors voted unanimously yesterday to forgo almost $11.3 million in headworks charges for 22 local building projects, including shopping centres, offices, tourist accommodation, aged care and medical facilities.

Developers have to ensure the projects will be completed by November 2014 so the headworks discount provides an immediate stimulus to the long-struggling building

They also need to guarantee at least 80 per cent of their construction workforce is made up of locals, and the projects need to provide ongoing employment opportunities when construction is over.

Approved developers yesterday praised the initiative for removing what they said was one of the toughest roadblocks for investment…

The scheme by the Bob Manning-led council recalls a similar initiative launched by the Val Schier council last year. However, the value of the discounts in this round is almost three times richer than in 2011.

Cr Manning stressed the objective of the program was to stimulate employment long after the initial construction phase is over.

Applicants were judged on the size of their developments as well as the project’s ability to diversify the local economy and benefit the community.

Thirty-one applications were received but 11 were judged not to meet the criteria.

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