Developer contributions under review in NSW

The NSW Government has appointed Productivity Commissioner Peter Achterstraat to overhaul the current system of developer levies and contributions.

Peter Achterstraat

The government says the move will unlock new housing supply, deliver community infrastructure and boost investment in the state.

It has also released for public comment a series of proposals including requiring councils to publish how much they have collected in levies and where the money has been spent.

Mr Achterstraat will deliver a final report on March 31.

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes says he wants to work with local councils in the review.

“The number one issue I hear from industry is that we need a more transparent and certain contributions system where everyone is clear about who pays for what,” Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said on Wednesday.

“Contributions reform has been stuck in the too-hard basket for too long, but we are committed to working with industry to deliver true change.”

Councils welcome chance for ‘fairer funding’

Councils have welcomed the announcement saying it will ensure community infrastructure is funded fairly.

“We welcome this review and congratulate Minister Stokes for taking a step in the right direction to ensure governments, councils, communities and industry can have their say on funding public infrastructure for the public good,” LGNSW President Linda Scott said.

“The system recognises that those profiting from the development of a residential community must also contribute to the infrastructure that helps them sell it.”

Cr  Scott also said councils also supported greater transparency in the planning system, which would put to bed the “old furphy” that councils are sitting on developer contributions.

Council boost for showgrounds

Meanwhile the Office of Local Government says the state government’s COVID-19 stimulus package announced on Thursday  will fast-track vital infrastructure projects in regional NSW and help local industries, councils and communities recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

More than $100 million will go towards expanding plantation nurseries, infrastructure repairs in state forests, rebuilding local showgrounds and upgrading regional hospitals, courthouses and Aboriginal housing.

The package includes $25 million for local councils to rebuild and refurbish infrastructure for up to 171 local showgrounds.

“Showgrounds are usually Crown Lands managed by councils. They are the heart and soul of many rural and regional communities because they bring people together for events that boost local economies,” Cr Scott said.

“We look forward to the return of local shows, markets, trade shows to our improved regional showgrounds once COVID-19 Public Health Orders are lifted.”

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