Council says $2 billion Appin infrastructure fund won’t be enough

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Wollondilly Shire Council has endorsed the draft Appin growth area contributions plan which will fund almost $2 billion worth of local infrastructure – but admits it still won’t be enough for everything that will be needed.

It will now be asking the community and relevant industry members to have their say on the draft plan.

 “Appin is one of the largest single growth areas to be released in Greater Sydney with no existing essential infrastructure to leverage development off,’’ said Mayor Matt Gould following this week’s council decision.

“It is currently a rural living environment, which means a large amount of new basic infrastructure is required to transform it to an urban growth area,’’ he said.

“Providing local infrastructure for a new community comes with significant cost, so council is looking to make sure this is in place before people move into the growth area.

“Our community deserves to have certainty that basic local infrastructure like roads and parks will be delivered in a timely manner, and I call on the developers to deliver on their promises around infrastructure by actively supporting this contributions plan.’’

The mayor, pictured at right, said it is anticipated that there will be a shortfall of at least an additional $94.3 million for critical local community facilities that council cannot legally include in the contributions plan.

“Unfortunately, there are limits on what council is allowed to include in the plan and not everything needed to support the community will be covered through it, with other important infrastructure including community, recreation and aquatic facilities and major road connections still to be funded,’’ he said.

“Also not included is funding for the inadequate 150-year-old one lane bridge at Broughton Pass which connects the growth areas of Appin and Wilton.

“I am deeply concerned that important and necessary infrastructure may fall through the gaps between what we can include in the local contributions plan and what is provided for within the future state contribution plan,” he said.

The draft contributions plan proposes to levy $1.96 billion worth of local public service and amenities infrastructure and plan management to service the Appin growth area.

These development contributions will be for transport, open space, stormwater management and community facilities land for an estimated population of 64,580 and 21,511 homes over a 30-year period.

The infrastructure provided through the contributions plan would include 8.1km of new and upgraded local roads, over 58 hectares of stormwater and drainage infrastructure, 46 parks, 16 playing fields, 42 multipurpose courts, and 31,400 sqm of land for community facilities.

Infrastructure for new growth areas is provided through a combination of State infrastructure such as water and sewer, major roads, public transport, schools and health services, and local infrastructure such as local roads, stormwater, parks, playing fields and community/recreational facilities, funded by developers through local infrastructure contributions to council or by council where it decides to do so.

The Appin (part) precinct was approved by the NSW Government in June 2023 comprising 12,900 new dwellings with more precincts expected to be rezoned in future.

Council’s position has consistently been that housing development in Appin is premature without a fully funded, binding infrastructure plan linked to the delivery of housing.

The draft contributions plan will authorise council to require development contributions towards the provision of local infrastructure in the Appin growth area.

Section 7.11 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act enables council to apply a contribution to new development.

The plan would apply only to the Appin growth area and does not apply to the existing township of Appin, pictured at top.

For a council to levy residential development in excess of the $20,000 per lot/dwelling cap, a contributions plan needs to undergo IPART’s assessment and approval, as in this case.

Following the IPART assessment process, IPART will provide the minister advice regarding the contributions plan.

The minister may determine that no further action is required or request the council to make changes to the contributions plan prior to it coming into effect.

Community members and industry will be able to provide feedback in the next week through Wollondilly Council’s Your Say page.

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