12 December 2008
The development industry will today tell the Independent Pricing Tribunal that if it approves a $251 million tax on local development, the Hunter may as well kiss the home building industry goodbye.
The Federal Government is trying to stimulate new home construction with a $21,000 grant, but at the same time Hunter Water is aiming to slug homebuyers with a new levy to raise $251 million, Mr Gadiel said.
It is tough to make money developing in the Hunter right now with developers struggling with a profit margin of less than $5,000 a home lot.
Hunter Water wants to slap a new tax on every home built in the region a tax that neither developers, nor home buyers can afford.
It the Independent Pricing Tribunal approves this tax, it will be signing the Hunters death warrant.
Mr Gadiel said that Hunter Waters claim that 60 per cent of the dam is necessary because of growth is incomprehensible.
Their own modelling shows that the extra costs of supplying water for the planned population increase of 160,000 by 2031 are negligible.
Hunter Water says all these extra people will require just 20,000 mega litres of water each year this is only 17 per cent of the additional water that will be made available by the Tillegra Dam.
This means that Tillegra Dam is really about drought security for all existing and new residents of the Hunter and Central Coast.
Mr Gadiel said that everyone who benefits from Tillegra Dam should contribute equally to the cost of its construction.
All the water users in the Hunter and the Central Coast should pay and no-one should be forced to pay twice, Mr Gadiel said.
Thats the solution that was adopted for the Sydney desalination plant, where the NSW Government issued a direction to the pricing regulator.
The same thing should happen here.
The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.