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Ratepayers should resist costly Gympie asset sell-off and development

The area proposed for intensive suburban development directly abuts World Heritage Ramsar Wetlands and close to World Heritage Fraser Island

Craig Warhurst writes in the Gympie Times that:

"GYMPIE Regional Council seems to be taking a leaf out of Premier Anna Bligh's book and is selling off land assets to fund its budget." He quoted "Corporate Governance and Finance Committee chairperson Councillor Donna Neilson" as having said that "Council planned to sell off industrial land at Tin Can Bay, Monkland and a home at Kilkivan to raise revenue."

Apparently Cr Neilson had said that the council would not be selling off assets just to keep running, 'only' those deemed 'superfluous'.

She was reported as having explained that, “Not all the $115 million budget comes from rates revenue,“only about $40 million.”

Urban Development on Inskip Peninsula will send residents' broke through rising rates, taxes & costs

Referring to outlying land-sales to suburban developers, Greg Wood, Coordinator of Friends of Rainbow Beach, said on Thursday (23 July 09) that Urban development on Inskip Peninsula won’t just destroy local lifestyle, it will help send us all broke.

Mr Wood cited a recent study by Victorian Department of Planning that found infrastructure costs due to urban extension are more than twice as much as those needed for infill development.

“Rainbow Shores Stage 2, and the unconsulted Land Swap being engineered to replace it, are both urban extensions beyond the existing township” said Mr Wood. “Both would cost ratepayers and taxpayers more than twice as much to support over time than would sensible development within the existing town footprint”.

Mr Wood said that, given the spiral of rate rises Gympie Regional Council feels compelled to inflict on rate-payers, Councillors would be either foolish or irresponsible to ignore this study.

Development doesn't pay for itself; ratepayers pick up much of the tab

“Some Councillors will say the developer pays all of the development costs,” said Mr Wood. “This is dangerously incorrect. A large proportion of the works and services that are ultimately needed due to any development are not even designed or costed at the time of application approval. They can’t possibly be charged accurately. And then there’s the additional, ongoing cost of upkeep.”

Mr Wood says the Victorian report quantifies the absolutely enormous total cost of infrastructure needed due to relentless urban development. The report presents a cost of $653m for total infrastructure required for 1,000 dwellings built in extension of the existing urban area at. The cost for same amount developed as infill is $309m.

Urban sprawl costs ratepayers twice as much as infill

“That’s over $600,000 and $300,000 per household respectively, said Mr Wood. “There’s no way the average household can contribute this amount to public finances. To the extent services are provided, and many are late or never arrive, they are payed for via debt. With the rate of urban sprawl being encouraged by this current Government it’s not hard to see exactly how the infamous State Budget black hole has been dug.”

Call to Queensland State Gov to cease trampling on local communities

Mr Wood called on the Queensland State Govt to cease trampling on the lives and finances of local communities and ordinary citizens in its increasingly mad rush to serve the interests of private developers. He said development must fulfil community need and not just speculator greed

He has also called on Gympie Regional Council to do something useful about the region’s financial security. He says the current plan of simply leaning on ratepayers until they bust is neither fair nor secure.

Council urged to lobby secretive State against inflicting costly Inskip development on Gympie ratepayers

“Council can make a good start on this by effectively lobbying the State over the expensive Inskip white elephant that is now being concocted behind closed doors”, said Mr Wood.

According to the Gympie Times, the Queensland state budget transferred many costs from state to councils. LNP State Member for Gympie David Gibson said that the council's planning had been 'thrown into chaos'. He illustrated this by explaining that simple things like street lights that the state was no longer funding were now council's responsibility and council could either turn the lights off or pass the cost on to ratepayers. He commented that pensioners and people on fixed incomes would be particularly badly affected.