Wagners' scathing attack: Mayor backs council charges

Paul Antonio has defended the council over criticism from the region's developers.
Paul Antonio has defended the council over criticism from the region's developers. Tom Gillespie

MAYOR Paul Antonio has defended the Toowoomba Regional Council's planning department in the face of criticism from some of the region's biggest developers.

The comments come after the powerful Wagners Group chairman Denis Wagner levelled a scathing attack at the council's "excessive" infrastructure charges in several media outlets, include The Chronicle.

Developers have taken the TRC to the Planning and Environment Court 19 times this year, with the majority settled before going to trial.

But Cr Antonio said he stood by the council's planning scheme, the staff in charge and its fees and charges, saying a balance needed to be achieved between the community's needs and developers' plans.

"In the last 24 hours I've had calls from developers who have different views on where we are at this point in time," he said.

"I'm trying to get an outcome that will encourage the development industry, and that's a fine line.

"The developers have a right where (if) they have an outcome they don't like, they can appeal the decision.

"Whilst we have gone to the Planning and Environment Court, most times there is a resolution before that."

Wagners Group chairman Denis Wagner.
Wagners Group chairman Denis Wagner.

Cr Antonio said the reality was if the developer wasn't willing to pay for infrastructure charges, that responsibility fell on the ratepayer.

"One way to pay for infrastructure is from the developers themselves, but if that is not forthcoming, it falls directly to the ratepayers," he said.

"That is the balance for this council.

"We do meet with developers on the range of matters - we have an open door policy.

"Council meets with all developers regularly and consistently works to negotiate a range of matters including infrastructure charges, should there be reasonable grounds to do so."

Mr Wagner, whose company revealed last week two aspects of its business would be moved to Brisbane, said part of the frustration surrounded what he said were inconsistencies with charges.

The council appeared in the Planning and Environment Court in Brisbane yesterday on matters with two different developers.



Topics:  denis wagner paul antonio toowoomba toowoomba development toowoomba regional council

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