No love lost as Sartor defends contributions cut

By Adam Coleman in Coffs Harbour

Councils across NSW have called for the NSW Department of Planning to postpone its plans to cut developers’ section 94 contributions, which they say could send them to the wall.

"Councils across the State are really concerned these cuts will lead to new communities being without crucial infrastructure like libraries, community centres and sporting facilities," president of the Local Government Association of NSW, Genia McCaffery, said.

Tempers rose at the Local Government Association Conference in Coffs Harbour, when NSW Planning Minister, Frank Sartor took to the stage, forcing Cr McCaffery to tell delegates “I expect you all to be at least polite”.

When asked if the NSW Government intends to place the interest garnered from the section 94 contributions into consolidated revenue, Mr Sartor drew a murmur of scepticism from delegates when he said “I’d be very surprised if we would be interested in the interest at all".

“The issue here was about a rational and consistent approach. We looking at greater consistency and transparency in how section 94 levies and plans are prepared and how they are applied,” he said.

During his address to the conference on Monday (October 22), Minister Sartor said he wanted to work with local government to improve the planning system.

"We would like to believe this is the case, but we weren’t consulted on the cuts to developer contributions so we’re understandably sceptical about his plans for the remainder of the system,” Cr McCaffery said.

The Minister drew mocking applause from delegates when he inidicated he wished to reduce his involvement in planning functions.

“We hope he honours that commitment – communities should be at the centre of the planning system and that means keeping councils as primary decision makers," Cr McCaffery said.



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