A SIC Joke

Nearly six years ago, the former Labor State Government released a Draft Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) Scheme to cover 4,291 square kilometers’ of the Lower Hunter. The Property Council’s Hunter Director, Andrew Fletcher, said that industry had been ringing alarm bells ever since.

“At the time, we warned the Government the SIC was a poorly designed and extremely blunt instrument that would strangle new housing supply”.

“Latest research proves those predictions were spot-on. Since its introduction, housing supply has been in decline and the Hunter now faces a shortfall of 30,000 homes within a decade.”

Mr. Fletcher said the scheme had been wildly inconsistent across the region, stripping the market of certainty and making investors reluctant to tackle new residential developments on the urban fringes. He said it was another example of how planning in NSW had “gone mad”.

“We had one instance of a young couple in Nulkaba wanting to sell half their rural residential lot to fund construction of a new home and being slugged with a $32,000 SIC bill by the NSW Government.”

 Responding to industry pressure and a deepening housing affordability crisis, the NSW Planning Minister has now released a Discussion Paper to create a more transparent and consistent scheme.

 “This is a crucial policy setting for the Hunter because it will determine the economics of land development for the next decade or more.”

 “It will directly influence how many houses get built, where they get built and how affordable they are.”

He said the development industry accepted the need to contribute towards infrastructure funding, but said three things were non-negotiable in the Hunter.

“The charge itself must not scare away investors, the funds raised must be allocated to infrastructure which supports new housing development and control of the scheme must be handed to Hunter Development Corporation.”

“Unfortunately, the current Hunter SIC Discussion Paper reads like a $510 million shopping list from various state government agencies and contains none of those safeguards for home owners.”

Mr. Fletcher said he expected the Hunter SIC to be a hot topic of conversation when the NSW Chief Planner delivers the keynote address at today’s Hunter Lunch.

Media contact:  Andrew Fletcher| M 0407410017 | E [email protected]