Steffan Harries

Infrastructure charges

Infrastructure charges can be one of the most expensive costs for a property development.

An infrastructure charge refers to a fee or levy imposed on developers by local government authorities or relevant bodies to help fund the provision of infrastructure and services necessary to support new developments.

What is a infrastructure charge?

Infrastructure charges relate to the following kinds of utilities:

  • transport (e.g. roads, pathways, ferry terminals and bus stops)
  • stormwater (e.g. pipes and water quality treatment devices)
  • water supply and wastewater (e.g. reservoirs, pipes and sewage treatment plants)
  • public parks (e.g. parks and sporting facilities)
  • land for community facilities (e.g. land for libraries and community centres)
  • other infrastructure depending on the LGA.

From 2011, the State Government has mandated a maximum adopted charge (capped rate) to limit the number of charges that can be applied to a proposed development.

This then allows utility providers such as Urban Utilities, Brisbane City Council etc, to adopt their own Infrastructure Charges Resolution (AICR) to detail their own LGA charge rate for individual development.

Infrastructure charges apply to the following:

  • Material Change of Use (e.g. starting a new use, or extending upon an existing one)
  • Reconfiguration of a Lot (e.g. subdividing a block of land); and
  • Carrying out building work that may generate extra demand on trunk infrastructure

As part of any assessable development, a utility provider could require the payment of additional infrastructure charges which could make or break a prospective development. The implications of the charges depend on the status of your development:

These costs can be as little as $50 per sqm of a new use, and upwards of $31,000 per new allotment or dwelling, so it is important to take into consideration with your development project. Learn more below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Trunk infrastructure refers to the essential network of public infrastructure that supports a region or community as a whole. It typically includes major components such as roads, bridges, water supply systems, sewage systems, power distribution networks, public transportation systems, and other critical facilities. Trunk infrastructure is designed to accommodate a significant volume of users and provide vital services to a large area, connecting various communities and enabling economic development, transportation, and essential utilities.

The approval conditions will specify when infrastructure charges will need to be paid. Generally, this will be before plan sealing for a subdivision, or before final building approval in the case of a new building (e.g. units, shops etc.).

As of June 2023, the cost of a new allotment in Queensland is ~$31,000.

Throughout Queensland, the majority of Council’s do not charge infrastructure contributions for a grannyflat with the exception of Logan City Council.

Calculating infrastructure charges can be an extremely complicated process. In most cases, you can review the local government infrastructure charges resolution, but in more complicated cases, we recommend using a specialist consultant or town planner. 

Infrastructure charges resolutions

Under the Planning Act 2016, each Local Government Area (LGA) is required to have an Adopted Infrastructure Charges Resolution (AICR) that will list the charge rates applicable to all assessable development. The easiest way to find these documents is to Google search “Adopted Infrastructure Charges Resolution” followed by the Council region. For example “Adopted Infrastructure Charges Resolution Brisbane City Council”.

The majority of local Council’s will list their charge rates in a downloadable PDF or Word document, but some have an interactive online calculator which can make the process much easier. For example, Logan City Council has a free calculator within their LoganHub which Steffan Harries would recommend taking a look at.

Calculating infrastructure demand

Once you have located your Local Council AICR, the best way to understand how it applies to town planning is to study the entire document. For the purposes of quickly finding the charges that might be applicable to a certain development, we would recommend searching the document for the defined terms that you are proposing. For example, do a Ctrl + F search for ‘Reconfiguring a lot’, or ‘Dwelling house’, or ‘Shop’.

This might show that the cost of a new allotment (for a subdivision) might be $31,000 for instance. Or an extension to a Shop is charged at $180/m2 etc.

Calculating infrastructure credits

Almost as important as knowing what charges are payable, it is integral to know what credits might also apply over a site. You may receive a demand credit for existing lawful development, previous lawful development, existing lots or other development on the premises if the development can be carried out lawfully without the need for a further development permit (as applicable).

There is no simple way to determine what credit might be applicable to a property. The only confident way to investigate this will be to request a calculation from the local council. This can sometimes cost more than $500 but will give you a breakdown of all credits that will apply to a site.

Infrastructure offsets and refunds

In certain instances, an infrastructure offset can be provided instead of paying certain infrastructure charges. It is associated with trunk infrastructure identified in the Council’s Local Government Infrastructure Plan. For example, if a planning scheme LGIP has a planned Bikeway through the site, the cost of constructing that will be offset against the total amount of infrastructure charges payable for the development.

Infrastructure charges calculation examples:

EXAMPLE 1

If you were proposing a 1 into 5 lot subdivision, your demand would be 4 new allotments (because 1 already exists that you will receive a credit for).

Assuming the charge rate for the allotment (listed in the AICR) is $28,000, the total infrastructure charges will be $112,000. (Charge rate of $28,000 X 4 allotments = $112,000).

EXAMPLE 2

You are proposing to change the use of an approved 100sqm warehouse into a 100sqm shop. The charge rate for a warehouse is $50/sqm and the charge rate for a shop is $180/sqm.

You will need to pay the difference per sqm. ($180 – $50 = $130 x 100sqm = $13,000).

EXAMPLE 3

You are proposing a 100sqm shop on a vacant block of land. The charge rate for a shop is $180/sqm and is $28,000 for an allotment.

You will receive the credit for the existing allotment of $28,000.

This means the infrastructure charges demand of $18,000 (100sqm x $180/sqm) is less than the credit of $28,000 (for the allotment), therefore no charges would be payable.

Need some help calculating your potential infrastructure charges? Get in touch with one of our town planners today!

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