Councils that fast-track development assessments and rezonings for housing projects will be rewarded with funding for parklands and public spaces under a NSW government initiative.
The state government announced the $250 million incentive scheme on Wednesday, saying councils who meet the criteria will be eligible for up to $5.5 million each in funding for parks, town squares and main streets, trails and foreshore and riverfront precincts.
Local government minister Shelley Hancock says the funding is the next step in its COVID-19 recovery-focused Planning System Acceleration Program, which has already fast-tracked 67 new projects.
The funds, to be used by local government for planning, design, construction and land acquisition costs for new and existing public space, will be available to councils that are currently using the ePlanning system and have adopted a Local Acceleration Program.
They’ll also have to show evidence that projects are being accelerated over the next year and deliver their projects before the end of 2022.
Different levels of funding are available depending on the type of council, with metropolitan councils with open space shortfalls standing to benefit the most. It will become available in instalments from 2021.
LGNSW President Linda Scott said the funding would help councils improve public spaces.
“This funding is another boost for local government efforts to drive locally led stimulus while delivering well needed public amenities for our communities – parks, walking trails and open spaces,” she said in an email to members.
Urban Taskforce has also welcomed the announcement.
“The approach of providing funding directly to councils to deliver new and improved public spaces will help unlock significant construction jobs during the economic shock of COVID-19 by reducing the “local green space” contributions” paid initially by developers, but ultimately added to the cost of new homes”, CEO Tom Forrest said.
More information is available here.
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