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Estimates: Question on whether the Government will introduce a Developer Tax

During the Parliamentary estimates hearings on 8 December 2020, I asked if the government would consider introducing a tax on developers.

You can read the answer below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).

Mr BERKMAN: I have a question for the minister. I understand that the 10-year review of the Brisbane City Plan 2014 is due in this term of parliament and that review will likely include significant upzoning of land that will generate windfall profits for developers and speculators that own property zoned. Will the government consider introducing a value gains tax similar to the one in place in the ACT so that we as a community can capture a fair share of those profits, rather than just letting big developers keep them?

Mr MADDEN: Chair, I have two concerns with the question from my colleague from Maiwar. The first one is some sort of inference with regard to a connection between government and developers that is inappropriate. The second concern is that my friend is asking a hypothetical about something that does not exist.

Mr BERKMAN: Might I respond to the point of order? First of all, there is no inference about any connection between government and developers. It was simply an observation about changes that will happen through a review of a plan and what the consequences are for developers. Secondly, it is a question of policy and whether the government will consider a particular policy position—that is, a policy of introducing a value gains tax similar to what is in place in the ACT.

CHAIR: I understand where you are going. It would have been easier just going straight to the second half of your question without that observation. I am going to allow that question, but the Deputy Premier can respond in the manner he sees fit.

Dr MILES: I thank the member for the question. I will ask the State Planner in a moment to outline what we know about the review of the city plan. While he comes forward, though, that is not something that is under active consideration. I have been in the role for three or four weeks. I am looking forward to meeting with the stakeholders and hearing their views about what the agenda should be going forward.

The only issue I would take with the member’s preamble is: one way of looking at it is that it would deliver windfall profits to developers; the other way of looking at it is that it would allow us to deliver for affordable housing and if we make that housing more expensive then that will have an impact, too. Clearly, there is contention in consideration of anything like that. To your point about the process for the city plan and how we can all contribute to that, I might ask Mr Doss if he has anything to add.

Mr Doss: I thank the member for his question and thank you, Deputy Premier. At the present time, the idea of value capture through planning approvals and rezonings is not part of the Queensland planning framework. That would be a new policy direction. Of course, we would rely upon consideration of that matter by government. It would require legislative changes. Having said that, in the issue of general rates there would be increases. This is seen as a form of value capture. There are also requirements for the payment of infrastructure contributions which go towards essential infrastructure including community infrastructure.

In terms of the Brisbane City Council’s 10-year review of the city plan, that is a requirement under the act. From what I have seen of the way in which Brisbane goes about its processes, we check it against the growth targets that are set in the South East Queensland Regional Plan. At the present time, Brisbane City Council has at least a 15-year supply of appropriately zoned land which is able to be serviced. In South-East Queensland we have a four-year supply of development approvals. In that case, because the current plan is in sync with the South East Queensland Regional Plan, I would not expect considerable changes. It is more an incremental change across their planning scheme.

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