Tax funding bonanza for developers

DEVELOPERS will be able to access up to $1 million in taxpayer funds in a bid to get major projects off the ground more quickly. 

The state government will launch a new $3 million Major Development Infrastructure Assistance Fund today. 

Developers have four weeks to apply for grants between $100,000 and $1 million that  are designed to cover infrastructure costs such as roads, water and waste networks, rail and wharves. 

Premier Lara Giddings said the money would unlock millions of dollars worth of private investment by encouraging developers to bring forward projects that had the potential to generate immediate and ongoing economic activity.    

In October, Launceston developer Errol Stewart announced that he would go ahead with his $15 million grain silos hotel thanks to a state government contribution of $1.5 million towards flood levee alterations at the site.

The establishment of the fund also follows complaints from developers about hefty headworks charges stalling development. 

The money is restricted to projects that  are ready to start construction before the end of June and are worth more than $2 million. 

``Following close consultation with the construction industry, the state government is taking direct action to create jobs and investment,'' Ms Giddings said.

``We know there are major unemployment challenges in the state and this initiative joins measures such as payroll tax relief and the $30,000 first home builder boost which are designed to create jobs.''

Ms Giddings said  there were clear signs that Tasmania's economy had turned the corner.

``Our economy is growing at 0.5 per cent, business confidence is on the rise, retail trade continues to grow and major employers such as Incat are reporting new orders.''

Expressions of interest for the fund close on Sunday, January 5.

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