Reform of NSW infrastructure charges to ‘unlock $12b in benefits’

NSW infrastructure contributions will be reformed after the State Government accepted all 29 recommendations of a NSW Productivity Commission report.

The report, which was released last December, described the contribution current system as unnecessarily complex and not properly enabling local governments and the state government to provide the infrastructure required to support development.

It also said local government rate pegging and the restrictive “essential works list” was impacting councils’ ability to meet service needs and residents’ expectations.

Announcing the NSW Government’s response last week, Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the reforms will “unlock up to $12 billion in productivity benefits through changes to how public facilities and services are funded through the planning system”.

“New and growing communities need new roads, parks, schools and hospitals, and it is imperative industry and communities have a clear understanding of how these services get delivered,” he said.

Under the reforms, the Government will:

  • move towards a principles-based infrastructure contributions system based on certainty, efficiency, simplicity, transparency and consistency;
  • enhance the capacity of councils to support growth;
  • strike a balance between efficiency, simplicity and certainty for local infrastructure contributions;
  • make the system more consistent, transparent and easy to navigate; and
  • better align infrastructure contributions and strategic planning and delivery.

The local government rate peg methodology also will be overhauled under the proposed reforms.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) will establish consultation groups to work with local government, industry and the community on implementing the reforms – with opportunities to provide feedback on the implementation of the recommendations.