IPART Crown land rental consultation

NSW Government

In October 2012, the Premier issued Terms of Reference to IPART to undertake a review of the rental arrangements for communications towers on Crown lands.

Following recommendations made by IPART in 2005, the NSW Government introduced a scheme for the charging of rents on Crown lands, including separate rates for the owners of infrastructure on sites, primary and secondary users, and whether an organisation was community-based, budget-funded, a state-owned corporation, telecommunications carrier or broadcaster.

In October 2012, the Premier issued Terms of Reference to IPART to undertake a review of the rental arrangements for communications towers on Crown lands.

The Telco Authority has prepared a submission on the matters raised in an IPART issues paper calling for a simplification of the current arrangements. The Authority has expressed concerns over the current definition of strategic sites (sites with eight or more users) which will incur market negotiated rents, potentially increasing costs for budget funded agencies and other government users.

A key focus of the Authority’s response is the recommendation that IPART include in its decision principles that consider the economic impact of the overall structure of the scheme. The Authority is concerned that creating uncertainty through the use of market-based rent negotiating processes for strategic sites will act as a disincentive to investment. While this position may lead to less revenue for land-owning agencies, this needs to be balanced against the potential price increase for government users for sites owned or operated by commercial users who are likely to pass on their own increased costs as well as use the IPART market-set rents to inform their own pricing arrangements.

The Authority submission argues that a balanced approach is also likely to create benefits to the community more generally through more investment in infrastructure (particularly in regional and remote areas) and improved communications options. There may also be environmental benefits from populating existing sites rather than developing new sites merely to avoid using or creating a strategic site.

The NSW Telco Authority will continue to participate in the IPART process.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.