ACT Property Council executive director Catherine Carter. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Canberra's peak building group says the ACT government is gouging builders on a grand scale.
The ACT Master Builders Association believes members are paying the highest fees and charges in Australia.
The MBA and ACT Property Council says its members are being hit with multiple charges, and new regulations proposed by government agencies unaware of their cumulative impact.
MBA deputy executive director Jerry Howard said he would meet the Business Council and Property Council to form a uniform opposition.
They needed less regulation and more consultation and co-ordination between agencies, he said. ''I have never seen so much disconnect in 40 years, so much rubbish coming out of the agencies and government. They have just gone mad,'' he said.
''Seriously, if you were out there as a builder trying to do something with the rubbish being put out in front of you, you would think 'forget it'.''
Government agencies were in a race to be first legislating innovation, such as universal housing design, without consulting industry.
Housing Minister Simon Corbell assured the property sector last week Universal Housing Guidelines would not be mandated in the ACT, after the government had proposed legislation to do just that, only to trigger an industry backlash.
Mr Howard said had the guidelines become law, as first proposed, people could not have built a stand-alone home with three bedrooms on a compact block. Wide hallways and bathrooms would not have fitted.
''They just don't get it,'' Mr Howard said. First home owners were not remotely interested, nor could they afford the additional $8000 the regulation would have added to the price of a standard home.
Mr Howard said the government could teach the private sector how to price gouge. ''If you are doing a six-unit development, just six multi-units, it would cost you $6000 more just in the building levy alone. That doesn't take into account the planning,'' he said.
The MBA had spent two years asking the government to amend the contentious Draft Variation 306 to the key statutory planning document, the ACT Territory Plan, without success. ''Now there is a technical amendment that's almost as big as the original document. Stop this madness and get back and consult with industry,'' he said.
ACT Property Council executive director Catherine Carter said a list of fees and charges and regulations were on agenda for reform.
''Commence and complete fees are unique to the territory. Lease variation charge is unique to the territory,'' Ms Carter said. The Property Council supported the government's tax reform but members were being stung by excessive measures to offset stamp duty relief.
Ms Carter gave an example of a commercial building in Civic, where the general rates of $32,000 in 2011-12 had jumped to $98,800 in 2013-14.
The last ACT budget was predicated on commercial rates rising 20 per cent and residential rates 10 per cent. ''That was difficult enough. In reality there is real creep in the order of 25 to 30 per cent happening on the quiet,'' she said.