Council opposes changes to rules governing developer contributions

Blacktown City Council has joined councils across New South Wales in strongly opposing proposed changes to rules governing developer infrastructure contributions in new housing developments.

Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM said developer contributions fund land purchase and vital infrastructure in developing areas, including footpaths, cycleways, parks, open space, drainage and stormwater recycling.

“The NSW Government tried to sneak changes through Parliament during last month’s NSW Budget that threaten to defer and reduce critical developer payments to councils,” Mayor Bleasdale said.

“Government planning policies have resulted in huge growth in Blacktown City suburbs such as Marsden Park, Riverstone and Schofields.

“The NSW Government has said Blacktown’s North West Growth Area has the potential for 84,000 dwellings and a population of 256,000. It’s estimated that Blacktown City Council will spend $3.5 billion over 25-years on the local infrastructure required in these developing suburbs.

“It’s vital that public infrastructure is in place before families move in to the new estates and therefore Council must have access to the developer contributions to fund that infrastructure.”

Mayor Bleasdale said the proposed changes will have the greatest impact on Blacktown City Council because it shoulders the largest greenfields development burden.

“Under the changes, the NSW Government could regulate to collect a contribution from a development in Marsden Park and spend it in Potts Point – that’s outrageous.

“Our communities bear the brunt of density and development, they deserve to receive a public benefit in return.

“The system is broken – for years we have advocated for changes to the Essential Works List which currently prevents Council using developer contributions to build libraries, community centres and aquatic centres.” Mayor Bleasdale said.

Opposition MPs, councils and Local Government NSW pushed back against the proposed changes and the legislation was sent back to a State Parliament Upper House Committee for review.

LGNSW President Linda Scott said, “I was surprised the NSW Government tried to push through changes that would result in potential deferral and reductions of these payments without even consulting councils and their communities.

“The changes could also result in the delay or removal of vital public projects with funds not being made available to councils by developers until the completion of the project.”

Mayor Bleasdale said; “New estates shouldn’t have thousands of residents move in only to see new roads dug up for the drains to be built. Residents in new estates shouldn’t have to wait for years for parks, playgrounds, footpaths, pools, community centres – not to mention schools and adequate transport.

“The proposed changes might be good for developers, but it condemns vital community infrastructure to the very end of the process.

“I’m joining with Linda Scott and councils across the state in calling on the NSW Government to withdraw this rushed legislation so that councils can provide the infrastructure that our communities so richly deserve.

“The NSW Government must provide assurances that under any changes to the legislation, adequate funding will be available to councils to provide the vital public infrastructure before families and businesses move into the new developments.” Mayor Bleasdale said.

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