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State Government backflip on bid to snatch developers contributions

The State government has backed down in its bid to snatch developers’ contributions for community infrastructure from local councils.

Once the plans were revealed, councils banded together to stop them because there were concerns the money would not be spent in the areas from where it was collected.

A big campaign against the proposal proved successful and yesterday the state government announced changes councils were seeking to ensure the money collected stayed in the local area.

Councillor Nathan Hagarty, who is seeking election as mayor of Liverpool, says the change of tune from the state government was a cause for celebration.

He says that had the reforms gone ahead unchanged it would have meant massive reductions in expenditure on important community infrastructure in new developments. 

The NSW Government’s Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill 2021, introduced into NSW Parliament with the NSW Budget, threatened to reduce critical contributions paid by developers towards the cost of vital community infrastructure as communities grew and more housing was developed.

The passage of the Bill in its current form would have seen less money being available for public parks, footpaths and other vital infrastructure.

Councillor Hagarty, pictured above, who has been fighting against the Liberal Party’s proposal, alongside Local Government NSW, the peak body for councils in the state, lauded the backflip as a victory for local residents.

“I’m glad the State Liberals have come to their senses on this dangerous bill,” Hagarty said.

“Without these amendments, contributions could have been siphoned off to pay for community facilities in the North Shore or Eastern Suburbs”.

“As a Liverpool councillor, I have always fought for a fair go for our local area.’’

The NSW Government and the peak body representing the state’s councils have agreed on improvements to reforms of the infrastructure contributions system.

Minister for planning and public spaces Rob Stokes said the changes to the package addressed issues raised by Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and councils during extensive consultation.

Modifications to the package include:

  • Allowing councils that currently fund community infrastructure from developer contributions to continue to do so;
  • Ensuring that state contributions are spent in the region where they are collected;
  • Re-setting the blanket rate councils can charge, known as 7.12 plans; and
  • Increasing the maximum amount councils can charge for infrastructure associated with solar and wind farms.

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