More funding needed for social infrastructure: AHURI

Councils need more funding to provide parks and open space for apartment residents, the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute says.

Developer contributions and voluntary agreements are too uncertain to ensure good results, according to a new AHURI report.

“We need to get baseline infrastructure in place no matter what,” said Laura Crommelin, a research lecturer at UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre and an author of the report.

“You need to have a funding process in place where local government can be guaranteed the key things people need will be in place when the development is finished, not two years down the track when another building comes on line.”

Using developer contributions to fund infrastructure in and of itself is not a problem, according to the report (which also includes contributions from academics at UNSW, University of Sydney, RMIT University, and Western Sydney University).

But the system is used with varying effect and leaving the creation of facilities dependent on market forces alone puts residents at risk of having no access to open spaces, community rooms or even public transport, it says.

A review of the NSW contributions regime is due to be completed by year’s end.

AHURI also said “coordination across levels of government is essential, despite the complexity involved.

“Quality outcomes like the public spaces in Rhodes [in suburban Sydney] show what can be achieved when both levels of government are meaningfully engaged.”

AHURI has also issued a research brief on the potential long-term impacts to city living from the coronavirus.