A new planning policy that will help local government establish a fair and appropriate basis for charging land developers for the cost of local community infrastructure has been released for public comment.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan today released the Western Australian Planning Commission draft State Planning Policy 3.6 Development Contributions for Infrastructure.
Ms MacTiernan said the State Government and local government had worked with the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), representing land developers to produce the policy.
“Local government, represented by the WA Local Government Association and the development industry, wanted a fairer, more transparent process for establishing local government infrastructure charges,” she said.
“The practices vary greatly between different local governments and this creates difficulties for developers.
“Both organisations are to be complimented for successfully working together to develop the policy.
“This policy will help local governments identify the cost of local community infrastructure that is directly attributable to new developments in their area.
“The aim is to ensure that developers, and through them homebuyers, are asked to contribute to those costs that directly relate to the additional need they generate.”
The Minister said that under the proposed new policy, local governments would first develop a clearly identified and costed infrastructure plan to demonstrate the needs generated by development.
The infrastructure plan would be subject to public comment and become part of the local planning scheme.
“Developers will then negotiate the combination of in-kind and direct contribution with the local government,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“All contributions will be held in a special account and only expended on the agreed community infrastructure, with the payable amounts part of the clearance process for the issuing titles.”
UDIA WA chief executive officer Debra Goostrey said the issue for developers was the need for transparency and the timely delivery of infrastructure that would directly support the new residents.
“The draft policy, when it comes into effect, will provide greater surety for purchasers, so they are not paying for infrastructure which is not relevant to them or which should be paid from other sources such as the rates collected by councils, or from State or Federal government grants,” Ms Goostrey said.
“Developers consider this to be part of a strategy for containing costs that are impacting on affordability.”
WALGA president Cr Bill Mitchell said local governments, particularly those experiencing rapid growth, were limited in their capacity to fund a wide range of infrastructure to support growth.
“In particular, local governments find it difficult to fund basic local community infrastructure such as community centres, recreation centres, libraries and child care centres,” Cr Mitchell said.
“The policy will ensure that appropriate contributions are made for funding and maintaining community infrastructure.”
The draft policy is available on the WAPC website -
http://www.wapc.wa.gov.au/Public+comment/1611.aspx and submissions are welcome until Wednesday, July 16.
Minister's office - 9213 6400