Proposed planning reforms for Queensland could offer investment incentive

By Greg Bell

The Property Council of Australia has outlined a number of potential reforms to the Queensland planning system that could help to further boost the sector's growth, which could be great news for potential buyers of commercial property in Surfers Paradise.

The need to reduce the cost of housing and property purchases across the state has led Property Council Executive director for Queensland Chris Mountford to suggest some potential changes the could stimulate growth in the coming months. 

Mr Mountford said the main area of focus for these changes needs to be local government planning schemes,which are used for a wide range of different applications including where a building project can take place, its scale and how applications for the project will be assessed. 

With some of these plans exceeding 4,500 pages, Mr Mountford said these were now "excessively complex" and called for an independent review of the process to simplify it.

"Whether you are renovating your house, or looking to develop a whole residential estate, wading through this mire of local laws adds time and money to your project. At the end of the day, complex local planning laws add to the cost of building a house in Queensland," said Mr Mountford in a 19 January statement. 

Making constructing and purchasing real estate a more accessible process for the public will be key to the continued success of the state's real estate sector. The Brighter Communities and a Stronger Economy plan outlined by the Property Council aims to do just this – by tackling both the planning aspect of the industry, as well as taking a closer look at taxation across the state. 

What are some of the proposed changes? 

When it comes to the changes for planning, the key concept is evolution; giving people the tools to create visions for the future, without restrictive bureaucracy and red tape. The slower these ideas can be pushed through, the more likely there is to be stagnationof development and – ultimately – unfulfilled results and desires for those hoping to construct homes and buildings in the area. 

The proposed Property Council changes for planning include the protection of property rights, especially in the face of complicated and confusing legislation that needs to be abided by. On top of this, more measures to ensure people have the choice of where to develop their projects.

Understanding that residential, commercial, industrial and infrastructure projects are all intertwined is an essential concept for the creation of functional communities in the future. 

Furthermore, property related taxes and fees have been highlighted as well by the Property Council, which could be the key to unlocking future productivity growth as more people decide to take advantage of the supportive market.

A proposed Tax Reform Advisory Council could help maintain the fee paid at a sustainable and fair amount, while developing consistency across local governments could make the region more competitive for businesses. 

Mr Mountford said the new Brighter Communities and a Stronger Economy plan would be calling on all parties to get involved and start working towards this new system to facilitate the growth of the state's economy. 

"An independent review of council schemes should not only assist in making them simpler to understand, it will also provide certainty for the local government that the outcomes of their scheme will meet their desired intent," said Mr Mountford in a 19 January statement. 

Taking this to heart, now could be a wonderful time to consider purchasing Surfers Paradise commercial property. With the potential for planning changes on the horizon – and the possibility of more people beginning to call the Gold Coast home – you might want to consider making moves into the local real estate market today. 

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