Development incentives kicking goals remaining in place

Published: 27 Nov 2019

An economic stimulus measure for Mackay that has reached a milestone of more than 50 approvals will remain in place for at least another 12 months.

An ordinary meeting of council today (Wednesday, November 27) considered a review of the Facilitating Development in the Mackay Region Policy.

Council agreed to make some amendments and keep the policy in place until December 2020, when it will be reviewed again.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the measures aimed at attracting and stimulating development had a good conversion rate in terms of approvals translating to projects on the ground.

“Of 52 approvals, 18 projects have been completed, there are 21 active approvals and only 13 have lapsed,’’ he said.

The completed developments, which council supported through concessions of about $1.1 million, have a combined economic construction value of $42.82 million and generated an estimated $89.32 million in economic output and 226 construction jobs.

Of the 21 active approvals, five are under construction.  If all active approvals proceed within timeframes and conditions, they’ll receive concessions amounting to more than $4.6 million.

But they’re expected to have a combined construction value of about $151.5 million and generate about $326.8 million in economic output and 806 construction jobs.

“The policy includes strict timeframes applicants have to meet to be eligible for concessions, which has ensured most of the approvals have been acted upon,’’ said Mayor Williamson.

“The policy has been a great incentive for developers to push ahead with projects in the Mackay region,” he said.

Amendments approved by council today mainly centred on increasing caps on infrastructure charge concessions for the various schedules within the policy.

Concessions of up to 100 per cent were also introduced for not-for-profit organisations that are recognised charities for the health care, aged care and retirement living schedule, as well as the community facilities schedule.

Other schedules in the policy include: the Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA); major industry development in the industrial investigation zone; tourism development; and bio-future industry development.

As part of a review of the policy, council received submissions from industry bodies, including a proposal to introduce a $5000 grant for first and new home builders.

However, indicators are showing improvement in the residential building industry, with 334 new approvals in 2018-2019.

With residential building on the rise, council decided the Facilitating Development incentives were better targeted at other types of development in the region. In addition, council decided to amend its Infrastructure Charges resolution to make charges cheaper for smaller lots.

The Facilitating Development in the Mackay Region Policy was first put in place in 2014 has been amended four times since, most recently in late 2018, to ensure it has remained the best possible tool for stimulating investment.