Western Australian councils are hoping to get the infrastructure contributions they deserve from land developers following the release of a new planning policy.
The Western Australian Planning Commission draft State Planning Policy 3.6 Development Contributions for Infrastructure was released today for public comment by Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
WALGA president Cr Bill Mitchell says the policy, produced by state and local government with land developer representatives from Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), will ensure appropriate contributions are made to local government for funding and maintaining community infrastructure.
Cr Mitchell says local governments, particularly those experiencing rapid growth, have previously been limited in their capacity to fund a wide range of infrastructure to support growth.
“In particular, local governments find it difficult to fund basic local community infrastructure such as community centres, recreation centres, libraries and child care centres,” he says.
“The policy will ensure that appropriate contributions are made for funding and maintaining community infrastructure.”
Ms MacTiernan says local government and the development industry both want a fairer, more transparent process for establishing local government infrastructure charges.
“The practices vary greatly between different local governments and this creates difficulties for developers,” she says.
“This policy will help local governments identify the cost of local community infrastructure that is directly attributable to new developments in their area.
“The aim is to ensure that developers, and through them homebuyers, are asked to contribute to those costs that directly relate to the additional need they generate.”
The Minister said that under the proposed new policy, local governments would first develop a clearly identified and costed infrastructure plan to demonstrate the needs generated by development.
The infrastructure plan would be subject to public comment and become part of the local planning scheme.
“Developers will then negotiate the combination of in-kind and direct contribution with the local government,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“All contributions will be held in a special account and only expended on the agreed community infrastructure, with the payable amounts part of the clearance process for the issuing titles.
UDIA WA chief executive officer Debra Goostrey believes the policy will provide greater surety for purchasers, so they are not paying for infrastructure which is not relevant to them or which should be paid from other sources, such as rates or government grants.
To view the draft policy see www.wapc.wa.gov.au/public. Submissions are welcome until July 16.
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