Contribution cap 'to benefit home buyers'

MORE-affordable housing will be built on the Tweed as well as increased demand from Queensland residents wanting to move across the border, will be two positives to come from capped developer contributions, according to Salt Village developer Tom Ray.

The CEO of the Ray Group, which built the $200 million Salt Village, believes the NSW Gov- ernment's decision to cap Section 94 or developer fees for new land releases to $20,000 per block would be a boon for the local property market, as it would increase the area's affordability and therefore its appeal.

“Importantly, the reduced cost for developers means a better price for buyers,” Mr Ray said. “I expect future stages of Salt Village will be even more affordable now that we are able to save money on the development of each lot.

“This contribution cap also helps to shield the Tweed from rapidly increasing developer costs.

“Developers of large greenfield subdivisions on the Gold Coast are currently paying in the vicinity of $48,000 per lot, which are the most expensive infrastructure levies for greenfield sites from Tweed Heads to Hervey Bay.

“With no statutory protection in Queensland to prevent further increases in levies, I expect we may see more people from the Gold Coast and Brisbane shifting across the border for more-affordable living.”

The Reese Government handed down its findings of a review of contributions paid by developers to local councils for infrastructure such as roads and water and sewerage ser- vices associated with new land releases last month.

The review decided, despite appeals made in submissions by Tweed Shire Council and other local government areas, to cap contributions paid to $20,000 per lot instead of the current maximum of $23,072 to create new lots in some rural areas of the Tweed.

An exemption for the long-awaited Seaside City development between Salt and Casuar- ina Villages, is the result of a previous Land and Environment Court ruling, and will mean Tweed Shire Council can continue levying $60,000 per block for the development.

Tweed Shire Council director of engineering Patrick Knight has slammed the cap as being short-sighted and believes it would hamper the development of more-affordable housing on the Tweed.

But Mr Ray, whose company is about to launch a new luxury, yet low-cost townhouse devel- opment at Salt Village, believes more needs to be done to cope with the Tweed's growth.

“Lowering Section 94 contributions will encourage the development of more land to meet the Tweed's housing needs,” Mr Ray said. “Last year alone, there was a need for 550 new homes - in other words, a suburb 20 per cent larger than Salt Village - just to keep up with normal underlying demand.

“Increasing affordability, improved infrastructure and solid underlying demand all add up to a strong base for future growth of the Tweed.”

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