City of Newcastle welcomes improvements to Infrastructure Contributions Bill after advocacy

24 Nov 2021

City of Newcastle has welcomed the NSW Government's decision to amend its unpopular infrastructure contributions scheme following the Council's advocacy.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes has confirmed that proposed reforms to the State’s infrastructure contributions scheme will be modified to ensure City of Newcastle and other local councils can continue to fund community infrastructure from developer contributions.

Advocacy led by Local Government NSW and City of Newcastle had raised concerns about the potential impacts of the proposed reforms on councils’ financial sustainability if the funds had been redirected for distribution by the NSW Government as originally proposed.

The modified reforms will also ensure state contributions are spent in the region where they are collected rather than be spent in regions at the discretion of the NSW Government.

City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath welcomed the changes as a win for Newcastle and communities across the state.

“I would like to thank the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces for listening to feedback from City of Newcastle and working with Local Government NSW to address our concerns,” Jeremy Bath said.

"Newcastle will welcome 23,000 new residents and house 11,500 new dwellings by 2036. Developer contributions provide vital funds that help deliver community infrastructure such as cycleways, bus shelters, parks and playgrounds, sporting grounds, recreation facilities and town centre public domain improvements.

"We need to ensure public infrastructure keeps pace with growth and is equitably funded, while also protecting current ratepayers from being financially burdened by the infrastructure requirements that result from future development."

The NSW Government’s Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill 2021 was introduced into NSW Parliament with the NSW Budget.

A Notice of Motion moved at City of Newcastle’s August Council meeting called on the NSW Government to undertake further consultation with the local government sector on any proposed reforms to the infrastructure contributions system.