Development levy scrapped

An illustration of Capital Alliance''s proposed $600 million revamp of Little India.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

The State Government will scrap a 5 per cent levy on developers in central Dandenong in a bid to attract more private-sector investment.

The Government has also allocated $80,000 to Greater Dandenong Council to identify barriers to investment in the CBD.

Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams said removing the ‘infrastructure recovery levy’ would stimulate more large-scale commercial and residential development.

“Encouraging investment and development is a way of rejuvenating Dandenong will create jobs and stimulate economic activity.

“Dandenong is seen as the capital of Melbourne’s south-east corridor and we want to attract developments that activate local spaces and provide an economic boost to the region.”

The move was made after an independent assessment and consultation with developers and the council, Ms Williams said.

The levy – which equates to $500,000 for every $10 million of investment – has been applied to any building permit on privately-owned land within the Revitalising Central Dandenong declared project area.

It will continue to apply for developments on land currently owned or controlled by Development Victoria.

The charge ceases to apply altogether in December 2026.

Greater Dandenong mayor Angela Long said the decision would help the council’s “ongoing Covid-19 recovery efforts”.

“We have been advocating for this since 2015 following a comprehensive review of the charge by consultants Essential Economics commissioned by Council to review the impact on local development activity.

“The review cited significant private sector concerns about the charge discouraging investment in central Dandenong.

“We appreciate the support of our Revitalising Central Dandenong partners Development Victoria in working with us to deliver this outcome.”

Councillor Jim Memeti welcomed the lifting of the “hand brake” on investment in the area – which includes central residential streets such as Pultney and Clow.

“It’s been a hurdle for companies wanting to invest. It will be back to a level playing field.

“We can say now that we’re clearly ready and open for business.”

Since 2006, the $290 million Revitalising Central Dandenong project had attracted nearly $700 million in private investment, according to the State Government.

It expects a further $600 million invested over the next 15-20 years by Capital Alliance into a mixed-use development at the Little India precinct.

The announcement was part of $2.7 million in grants to 21 councils under the Government’s Streamlining for Growth program.

The program is managed by the Victorian Planning Authority.