The New South Wales Government has placed its Infrastructure Contributions Package on public exhibition for analysis and feedback; a move welcomed by councils who have campaigned against the proposed reforms.
Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW) President, Linda Scott, said, “This is a real improvement on the rushed and secretive way this proposed package was last month pushed through the lower house of Parliament, buried in other legislation.”
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill 2021, which passed the lower house, gave no guarantees that contributions would be spent where they are collected.
“Infrastructure contributions are made by developers and are a critical co-funding measure to deliver footpaths and cycleways, parks, playgrounds, playing fields, skate parks, basketball courts, libraries, childcare centres and public pools – even street lighting, stormwater and drainage facilities,” Cr Scott said.
“The community expects local infrastructure funds to be invested locally; no-one wants to see infrastructure funds hoarded for potential pork-barreling.”
More than 200 mayors, councillors and general managers came together last month to express outrage at the proposed reforms – described by the development body Urban Taskforce as a “tax grab”.
LGNSW subsequently launched the Say No To The Contributions Cash Grab campaign, with 67 councils already passing minutes condemning the proposed changes.
“We need the Government to commit in the legislation that infrastructure contributions will be allocated fairly, transparently and locally,” Cr Scott said.
“We need written, legislative guarantees that no council or community will be worse off as a result.
“As these government reforms have switched developer contribution payments to the end of a project, councils need funding to continue their infrastructure program, ensure jobs aren’t lost and parks and playgrounds continue to be built.
“I thank the Minister for continuing to work with LGNSW to ensure no council is financially worse off under these reforms.”