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By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS

THE State Government is being called to scrap a developers’ levy which is designed to recoup the cost of the Revitalising Central Dandenong project.
Greater Dandenong Council is among the opponents of the infrastructure recovery charge, set at 5 per cent of each new development’s value within the central Dandenong declared area.
The development value includes the cost of building work as well as the land’s value.
Councillor Jim Memeti told a council meeting this month that the levy was hindering new development and hence efforts to reduce unemployment.
“As a start, it’s things like this which are not helping our city.”
Cr Memeti told the Journal that the levy had been inconsistently applied.
He said apartment building projects were being put on hold for 18 months due to the levy cost while the levy was waived for large projects such as the Australian Tax Office, Government Services Office and the civic centre.
Committee for Dandenong chairman Gary Castricum, who also opposed the levy, said “new and better” developments were what Revitalising Central Dandenong should be about.
“We don’t want smaller developers who are trying to develop the area getting hit.”
Paul Kearsley, the council’s group manager of Greater Dandenong Business, said the council had made a representation to Planning Minister Richard Wynne on the issue.
“My group is very, very close now to finalising an economic report that highlights the true cost of that particular levy.
“That will form the next phase of some advocacy back through to the government in terms of ensuring that we understand and they understand what the issue is with regards to preventing developments from occurring.”
Places Victoria, which is the planning authority over central Dandenong developments, requires developers to pay the charge before issuing a building permit.
The charge has been in place since 2006 to help recover the government’s $290 million Revitalising Central Dandenong investment.
It does not apply to home owners or to businesses doing minor renovations.

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