Local reserves among 43 projects to benefit from developer contributions

Upgrades to Umina, Ocean Beach and Ettalong reserves were among 43 projects to benefit from a more flexible developer contribution funding model according to Council financial reports.

In the 20/21 financial year just finished, Central Coast Council contributed $3.7M of developer contribution funding towards the planning and delivery of 43 projects across the coast, after the NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes increased flexibility on the funds’ usages in June last year.

Other large projects that benefited included the shared pathway construction at Race Course Road, Gosford (Stage 1); shared pathway construction along Tuggerawong Foreshore (Stage 2), drainage upgrades and Louisiana Road, Kanwall and upgrades to Kariong Oval.

Stokes issued an Environmental Planning and Assessment Direction in June 2020 relating to local infrastructure contributions, a type of restricted funds.

Councils had six weeks to provide the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment with a works program detailing how they intended to draw down on local infrastructure contribution balances and deliver local infrastructure over the next four years.

Last week council confirmed the above projects benefited and said that Council has recently adopted a Central Coast Section 7.12 Contribution Plan and is preparing a comprehensive Central Coast Local Infrastructure Section 7.11 Contribution Plan.

“The planned expenditure in the work program will be delivered as shown in the Operational Plan for the 21/22 financial year but may change for future years due to the adoption and implementation of the Central Coast Local Infrastructure Section 7.11 Contributions Plan,” the council said.

Stokes announced the legislative changes last year to provide councils with more flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stokes said the extra flexibility would let councils quickly invest in public spaces, roads, footpaths, drainage and it would unlock billions across the State.

The changes permitted councils to pool funds across contribution plans, allowing them to bring forward planned projects where all the funds may not yet have been received.

Developer contributions – also known as local infrastructure contributions – are charged by Council when new development occurs.

This type of local infrastructure typically includes local roads, stormwater and drainage, shared pathways, parks, playspaces or other recreational areas, environmental land and community facilities.

The NSW Government sets the legislation and policy framework for how Council collects and administers contributions.

There are two forms of local infrastructure contributions: Section 7.11 contributions and Sections 7.12 contributions.

To charge contributions under a Section 7.11 contributions, the plan must identify a clear relationship between the expected development and the demonstrated need for the public infrastructure while the Section 7.12 contributions plan is not required to identify this relationship, as the contributions are calculated as a flat rate percentage of the cost of development.

 If the development is between $100,001-$200,000 a 0.5% levy is charged, if the development is over $200,000 a levy of 1% is charged.

Merilyn Vale

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