THE Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Mackay-Whitsunday branch is looking for a fight with the State Government over its draft regional plan, which it believes will worsen the housing shortage.
However, the State Government has defended its plan, claiming it adequately caters for Mackay’s growth during the next 20 years.
UDIA branch president Mark McGrath said the draft plan was a “disgraceful attempt to avoid properly funding Mackay”.
Land supply was restricted under the plan, meaning new land prices would rise significantly, he said.
“Up to 84,000 additional people are expected to be living in Mackay over the next 20 years but if this plan is implemented with the proposed level of land release, 43,000 of those people will not be able to find accommodation,” he said.
“There will be a land shortfall of at least 2500ha.
“This plan would be an absolute disaster for Mackay... the lack of land supply will have pushed prices beyond (people’s) reach.”
Mr McGrath said government charges and taxes contributed about $100,000 to the cost of a block of land in Mackay. This, coupled with short supply, would make land unaffordable for most people, he said.
“You will never again be able to buy a block of land in Mackay for $200,000 if this dangerous plan is introduced.”
Deputy premier and minister for local government Paul Lucas refuted Mr McGrath’s claims.
“The plan provides adequate land as the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday region grows by an additional 100,000 people by 2031,” Mr Lucas said.
“Of course developers and people like Mr McGrath don’t want an urban footprint and not having this footprint would be devastating to the viability of farms and agriculture.
"No urban footprint would also result in major costs for councils – that they can only pass on to ratepayers – to pay for recurrent services and infrastructure in areas away from existing urban development.
"Mr McGrath’s comments represent the extreme ‘develop at all costs’ attitude which leaves the ratepayer and taxpayer to foot the bill.”
Development services manager Peter Cardiff said Mackay Regional Council believed the plan adequately catered for housing, with maps identifying considerable future growth areas.
Council records showed the average-sized block already cost $200,000, he said.
Development costs were usually in the order of $50,000-plus, not $100,000, he said.
Mr Lucas encouraged Mr McGrath to make a submission instead of “political grandstanding”.
“He, like anyone else, is entitled to make a submission before September 9,” Mr Lucas said.
WHAT THEY SAY
Mark McGrath, of the UDIA: There will be a land shortfall of at least 2500ha under the plan. Of the 84,000 additional people expected to move to Mackay, 43,000 won’t be able to find accommodation
Paul Lucas, of the State Government: The 20-year plan provides enough land for another 100,000 people across the region.
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