Green light for Liverpool Council $1 billion infrastructure levy

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The final report of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has confirmed the green light for Liverpool Council’s bid to collect more than $1 billion in developer contributions in the Austral and Leppington North precincts.

The council will use the contributions it collects to fund the open space, stormwater, transport infrastructure and land needed to support the development, which will provide new housing for almost 60,000 people over a 20 year period.

“The contributions plan covers around 1,500 hectares and is expected to provide infrastructure to 16,000 new dwellings and a population of around 57,000, with capacity for an additional 13,000 jobs in the area,’’ says IPART in the report release yesterday.

“It will include new town centres for Austral and Leppington, a stormwater system to manage major flood events, 12.6km of new or upgraded roads, pedestrian access and around 120 hectares of open space for residents,” said tribunal member Deborah Cope.

Liverpool City Council sought approval to levy a total of around $1 billion – around $60,000 for a typical home – in contributions to provide the infrastructure needed to service the area. The average levy when the application was made was $30,000 for a typical home.

IPART says their analysis has found the infrastructure costs in the plan are essential and reasonable, and that public consultation has occurred.

The contributions plan will deliver:

• 120 hectares of open space including 42 local parks, 11 district parks, 9 local sports fields and 1 district sports field

• 12.6 km of new or upgraded roads and associated infrastructure for pedestrian movement

The land area affected by the levy; top: Liverpool is set on a path to massive population growth.

• stormwater infrastructure that will ensure that major rain and flood events are managed effectively

The infrastructure covered by the plan will support development within the area including:

• The construction of over 16,000 new dwellings

• Commercial, light industrial, business parks, human services, and entertainment areas

 A town centre in Austral with approximately 42,000sqm of retail floor space.

• Three neighbourhood centres with additional retail floor space of approximately 10,000sqm.

• 4 primary schools and 2 high schools.

• 66 hectares of light industrial and bulky goods land for local jobs and services.

 • A new TAFE college and regional Integrated primary health care centre.

 • Regional level community and cultural facilities

The local transport infrastructure to be delivered under the $1 billion plan includes 12.5 km of new or improved collector roads, 1,200 new street trees, 19 creek crossings, 11 pedestrian bridges, 10 roundabouts and one signalised intersection, 42 bus shelters and 50 street level pedestrian crossings.

None of the council infrastructure plans submitted to IPART include a football stadium to attract clubs such as the Wests Tigers and Macarthur FC to the Liverpool local government area.

Sources have told the South West Voice Liverpool Council has plans for such a stadium facility but it has not been formally announced yet.

Time will tell if funding could come from the $1 billion developers’ contributions in the new land releases precincts of Austral and Leppington North.

As for IPART, it says there is a possibility council’s estimate of the infrastructure costs involved might turn out to be underestimated.

IPART has recommended Liverpool Council review its costs within the next two years, including the actual costs from implementation of the plan.

Also, IPART says the provision of open space in the plan is below the council’s benchmarks.

“We have recommended the council explore options it has suggested to mitigate this shortfall.’’

The final report is available on IPART’s website

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