Gold plated’ council infrastructure standards costing new home buyers

‘Gold plated’ council road requirements are driving up the cost of new housing in South East Queensland, according to new research commissioned by the Property Council of Australia.

The infrastructure standards review, undertaken by Calibre Consulting, compares the local, neighbourhood and inter-suburban road standards across the Brisbane, Ipswich and Moreton Bay local government areas in 2015.

Queensland Executive Director of the Property Council, Chris Mountford, says inconsistent infrastructure standards across SEQ’s various local government areas is leading to huge variances in cost which are being passed through to the price of new housing.

“A typical suburban local road in Brisbane is costing $407,360 per km, while the equivalent roads in Ipswich and Moreton Bay are over $140,000 per km more expensive,” Mr Mountford said.

“For bigger inter-suburban roads it costs $1.4 million per km to meet Brisbane City Council requirements, half a million dollars more than Ipswich and Moreton Bay.

“In the end, it is homebuyers and rate payers who are paying these significant cost variations for what are effectively the same roads in neighbouring local government areas.”

The Property Council is calling on the Queensland Government to introduce a standard road design manual for South East Queensland councils to adopt that will create uniform, pragmatic and fit-for-purpose  infrastructure design requirements across the jurisdictions.

“We need to work out which Council has a fit for purpose standard for each road type and then implement that across the region,” Mr Mountford said.

“This might bruise a few engineers’ egos, but it will ease pressure on housing prices and create cost savings for councils through administrative efficiencies.”

While the new report only analysed road costs, the Property Council says similar inconsistencies exist in other forms of local infrastructure.

“We want to see the Queensland Government undertake a full review of all local infrastructure types to call out over-engineered standards and create administrative and cost savings,” Mr Mountford said.

Report Snapshot

 Road Type
 Road Description
Cost per km of Road 
% difference to BCC 
 Local Road  Local Road BCC   $ 407,360  N/A
   Access Street (A1) ICC  $ 549,869  +35%
   A2 MBRC (CSC) $ 555,162  +36%
 Neighbourhood Road  Neighbourhood Road  BCC $ 638,880  N/A
   Collector  ICC $ 591,926  -7%
   MC2  MBRC (CSC) $ 576,378  -10%
 Inter-suburban road  District Access  BCC  $ 1,412,100  N/A
   Major Collector  ICC  $ 904,913  -36%
   C  MBRC (CSC)  $ 846,658  -40%