Local councils caught red-handed, home-buyers suffer

13 July 2009

Local councils have been caught red-handed leeching from new home-buyers, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said that the NSW governments review of local council levies on new homes reveals how the rules are being broken.


The councils have been caught red-handed, Mr Gadiel said.


Theyre taxing home-buyers to plug holes in their budgets.


Local council levies can exceed $60,000 a home.


Mr Gadiel said that anyone who has been struggling to save for a new home should be demanding answers from their local council.


Tweed Shire Council has been levying young families buying a home to pay for their local cemeteries, he said.


Tweed public servants also scored improved office accommodation, courtesy of taxes on new home construction. Pittwater council was caught hitting new home buyers with $1,000 in unjustifiable administration costs.


Coffs Harbour council was using home buyers money for storm water education with no evidence that new home buyers have less knowledge about storm water than other members of the community.


Pittwater, Coffs Harbour and Tweed Shire councils have also been levying new homes to pay for library books enjoyed by everyone in the community, not just new home buyers.


Manly council is using its levies to pay for a car-parking station it built in the 1970s.


Hunters Hill Council was caught levying 50 new homes for improvements to the Gladesville town centre that benefiti the whole community.


Mr Gadiel said that local councils have been irresponsible in the way they have taxed new home construction.


These taxes have contributed to the record lows in NSW home construction, he said.


Only 5,400 new homes were built in NSW in the last quarter, he said.


As recently as 2004, NSW was producing 11,000 new homes a quarter and Victoria is, even now, producing 9,000 homes a quarter.


The governments review has only uncovered the tip of the iceberg.


This review is not enough to bring these charges under control well be pressing for more action.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


For every $1 million in construction expenditure, 27 jobs are created throughout the broader economy. The construction activity made possible by property developers contributes $69 billion to the national economy each year and creates 709,000 direct jobs. The construction industry is Australias third largest source of employment.



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