Models of Myer ... as run earlier this year by Mercury, top, and ABC.
MYER DISCLOSURE SHOULD BE TIME TO CONSIDER HOW MAJOR GRANTS AND INCENTIVES ARE DETERMINED BY HOBART CITY COUNCIL.
MEDIA RELEASE HELEN BURNET GREENS ALDERMAN HOBART CITY COUNCIL
SEPTEMBER 30 2014
The contribution Hobart City Council has committed to the Myer development was released last night.
Whilst it is good to see development at the Myer site finally underway, the Council has, in my opinion, far too much riding on it as the great hope for the city. The development has taken 7 years to begin, and the significant delays have reduced business confidence at the cost in takings of many smaller surrounding businesses.
The release of the Council’s Annual Report is a step in the right direction, allowing some transparency in the financial support for the commercial development. It reveals some but not all of the costs set aside for this project at various milestones – $7m for Myer and more to Kalis - a cap on rates and waiving of some fees. These may seem to ratepayers and the public an outrageous price to pay.
There is no denying that major development is required in our city. There has to come a time, however, when developments stand on their own merits. My concern is that there may seem to be an unfair advantage to one developer over another. Indeed, I have had developers make this very comment to me.
There is also the disadvantage to the smaller business who are expected to be grateful for major players who receive grants, but do not receive anywhere near the direct benefit from Council themselves.
Also reported in the Annual Report are some other assistance packages for other major developments: there are outstanding costs to be borne by Council for the Wellington Centre car park development, which amounts to $3.5m over 10 years, as well as the Vodafone package - as yet undisclosed - which also falls under s45 of the Annual Report: major development assistance policy commitments.
Given the controversy around the release of the costs to ratepayers of the annual report, it would be prudent to revisit the Council’s major developments grants/incentives policy.
I am therefore suggesting that the Council reconsider the major development grants and incentives policy so that there is more transparency and robustness regarding investment by Council into the future.
Alderman Burnet will be addressing the Hobart Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Thursday October 2 at the Mercure, Bathurst St at 7:30
• The Hag ... And what is going on here?
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