Queensland’s property industry has strongly endorsed Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe’s aversion to using new levies and taxes to pay for the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane.
Property Council Queensland Executive Director, Chris Mountford, said Mr Hinchliffe's preferred method of financing would encourage economic growth and ensure the project achieves the maximum benefit for Brisbane.
“The Cross River Rail project will not only alleviate the rail network’s looming capacity problems and greatly increase Brisbane’s economic productivity, but also potentially increase land values along parts of the project corridor,” Mr Mountford said.
“If property values do increase, as expected by the State Government, then the government will receive a financial windfall from this increase through land tax and stamp duty receipts. It is also likely that the council will receive an increase in rates revenue as well through higher property values.”
Mr Hinchliffe has outlined a preference for the Government to borrow against this future revenue to assist in funding the project’s construction, instead of introducing new charges.
“Although the Government has outlined that all funding options are still being considered, the Minister’s aversion to new charges demonstrates an understanding that taxing growth is unlikely to encourage growth," Mr Mountford said.
“The property industry is encouraged by the Minister’s desire to make smarter use of existing taxation to fund these types of game-changing projects.”
The Federal Government recently announced that its impending ‘cities policy’ will promote the use of innovative financing models for major projects.
“With the State Government committing to seek Commonwealth funding for Cross River Rail by mid-year, their funding proposal will need to align with the Federal Government policy.”
“The Federal Government has made it clear that financing models cannot just be new taxes but should be “win-win” propositions.”
“By adopting Minister Hinchliffe’s preferred financing method, the State Government stands the best chance of making this project a reality.”