Communities and transparency the winners in contribution policy changes
The contribution scheme – originally designed to ensure developers contributed appropriately towards local government infrastructure such as parks, footpaths, sporting facilities and other amenities – has previously come under fire for lacking clear guidelines on how the funds developers pay to councils would be spent.
Media reports uncovered a number of instances in which the money wasn’t spent in a timely manner, while in other cases developers were significantly overcharged.
Under the new draft policy, Development Contribution Plans would be developed either concurrently with structure plans or within six months of their approval.
Development infrastructure contributions will remain variable, depending on the infrastructure requirements and the location of the development, but should be based on industry benchmarks.
Community infrastructure contributions will be capped at $2,500 per dwelling, with the potential for another $1,000 per dwelling where district and regional infrastructure is also proposed.
“The careful planning and co-ordination of infrastructure is fundamental to the economic and social wellbeing of any community,” Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said.
“So along with the houses and jobs, we need to provide roads and water; schools and hospitals; parks and footy ovals; libraries and public transport – all the essential elements that transform a development into a community.
“This is a shared responsibility, but our current approach lacks consistency and transparency.
“We’re looking to put an end to that, and I encourage everyone with an interest in the delivery of essential infrastructure to consider the proposed changes and have their say.”
Ms Saffioti also announced the government had abandoned plans to generate part of the funding for its flagship METRONET project by a value capture mechanism – another decision that will be welcomed by developers.
Current housing and property market conditions were taken into account in this decision, Ms Saffioti said.
“We have decided to not proceed with a model, to help support the local property and housing market,” she said.
“The cost of administration and the insufficient revenue return didn’t make it worthwhile, especially when considering the higher than expected Commonwealth funding secured for METRONET.”
The proposed changes were welcomed by industry stakeholders, including the Property Council.
“We are thrilled that the State Government and Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti have demonstrated that they are listening. Minister Saffioti has taken decisive steps to put in place a regime that will make housing more affordable, encourage development in METRONET precincts and create more jobs in WA’s property sector,” said WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer.
“This is a positive move, making it more affordable for the industry to deliver housing in METRONET precincts, by reducing red tape, which adds to the cost of building, and making it more affordable for West Australians to buy their own homes.”
Fran Lawrence leads Cannings Purple’s Corporate Affairs team and has more than 20 years’ experience in media and communications. She is an expert in communication in the property sector. Contact Fran.
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