The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) has welcomed a revised draft policy released by the state government today to improve how development contributions toward infrastructure are collected, managed and spent by local authorities.

Draft State Planning Policy 3.6 Infrastructure Contributions sets out the principles and requirements that apply to infrastructure contributions in new and established urban areas.

“UDIA has consistently advocated for change in recent years in relation to a lack of transparency and accountability of some local governments in managing community infrastructure funds,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.

“These funds contribute to facilities and infrastructure in our local communities including roads, recreation centres, libraries and parks,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“I am very pleased that the state government has listened to our concerns and introduced a range of measures including the annual reporting on local government websites of developer contribution funds so that we can properly track the timing and prioritisation of expenditure and the current status of funds,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“While we acknowledge there are local governments that have been adequately managing the funds in Development Contribution Plans (DCPs), including how they are allocated and spent, there are many examples of DCPs that have not been managed well,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“UDIA has previously estimated that there are hundreds of millions of dollars in funds held in various DCPs that have not been spent in a timely manner on required infrastructure,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“This is money that should be invested in delivering the amenities that homeowners have been promised, and that they expect to be delivered within a reasonable timeframe, from when they purchase into an area,” Ms Steinbeck said.

A maximum levy for local community infrastructure of $2,500 per dwelling will now apply, with items to be justified through a Community Infrastructure Plan.

“It is also pleasing to see the list of what can be included in DCPs is much clearer and infrastructure cost estimates will be undertaken and updated annually,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Another win for industry and more importantly, home buyers, is the fact that value capture has not been introduced into the new policy which had been modelled as part of the policy review process,” Ms Steinbeck said.

UDIA raised serious concerns around the proposed methodology and impact on an already subdued market that a value capture model would have.

“I commend the state government on their acknowledgement of current market conditions along with the increase in federal funding they have received for METRONET that has negated the need to impose extra costs on development around the stations in the form of a ‘value capture’ mechanism,” Ms Steinbeck said.


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