Archicentre  is the national building advisory of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). The organisation campaigns on behalf of developers and new homebuilders to help make the building process as smooth and trouble-free as possible with minimal hurdles to the whole process.

The embattled New South Wales economy and its housing sector will benefit significantly if Government fees to developers are reduced as announced by the NSW Government, says the organisation.

According to Angus Kell, the NSW state manager for Archicentre, any hindrances to inner city developments (primarily apartments) that could be reduced by the authorities will be a boon to the NSW housing industry, which has experienced the negative flow-on effects of the global financial crisis over the past six months or more.  

“Because inner city development areas already have infrastructure in place, obstacles like development charges can be reviewed and perhaps removed or minimised,” said Mr. Kell. “With significant population growth to the major urban areas across Australia over the next two or three decades, it becomes vitally important that we have a smooth and hassle-free system in place that makes inner city development as easy as possible.”  

“I therefore welcome the NSW Premier’s statements that big cuts to developer levies will make new homes cheaper and stimulate that state’s economy,” he added. “His statements are timely, especially when new housing starts in NSW have dropped by 25% in the three months to September this year.”  

Recently, an NSW cabinet committee decided to abolish levies to water utilities, which average $15,000 per housing lot and cap the levies paid to councils at $20,000 per lot. It will also abolish $6,000 transport levy and reduce government charges by a further $6,000 a lot by 2011.

The changes, according to Mr. Rees could cut developers’ costs by as much as $64,000 per lot. Mr. Kell also pointed to the fact that developer charges in NSW average over $100,000 per lot in comparison with less than $10,000 per lot in Queensland as well as Victoria and less than $1,000 per lot in Western Australia.

“The developer charges have been a handbrake on new residential construction in this state,” he said. “Any incentive to entice developers and major contractors back into NSW is welcome, as many had left for QLD, Vic or WA due to the slowdown caused by the Investment Tax.”  

“Last week, with the launch of the NSW Housing Code, the State Government has shown they are keen to lift red-tape, which has traditionally slowed the construction of new housing,” he explained. “An extension of this attitude to medium density housing in areas, which are well supported by transport, employment and shops would attract development back into the Inner West and help rebuild NSW.”