Transparency and consistency key to planning policies

The extension of State Environmental Planning Policy 70 (SEPP 70) for affordable housing to five new council areas and the exhibition of the new Special Infrastructure Contribution Scheme (SIC) for Rhodes East show the Government is intent on simplifying our planning system and infrastructure contribution schemes, according to the Property Council of Australia.

SEPP 70 may now be applied to Randwick, Inner West, Northern Beaches, Ryde and Canada Bay and Rhodes East may be subject to a $22,000 Special Infrastructure Contribution, but these approaches must come with checks and balances to ensure they don’t simply add to the myriad of other schemes in place in NSW.

“The Property Council supports the Government looking for approaches to simplify the systems that can ensure we have great built spaces and equitable growth, but they must simplify our planning system rather than add complexity,” Property Council NSW Executive Director Jane Fitzgerald said today.

“NSW is currently subject to a myriad of approaches to fund infrastructure and the SIC scheme must envelop all of these for each region it is applied and provide one scheme that is consistent and transparent for industry and the community. We must not have this additional cost simply add to the list of levies and taxes already placed on the cost of a home.

“SICs will be tailored to each growth area which provides the opportunity to design them to deliver the unique on the needs of each area and ensure costs are reasonable, yet at this stage there are no transitional arrangements in place to ensure the development feasibility of land that was purchased before the scheme is not affected and this should be included.

“The NSW Government’s recent approach to funding local infrastructure has been to scrap the Local Infrastructure Growth Scheme and uncap Section 94 levies which has instilled uncertainty in the development industry and will add more to the price of a home – the new SICs must not worsen this,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“The implementation of SEPP 70 across five more councils provides the opportunity to simplify the system for instituting affordable housing targets, but the targets, if required, must be kept within the 5-10 per cent target recommended by the Greater Sydney Commission. We must not have a situation where we have higher targets under SEPP 70 as housing supply and affordability measures may be undermined.

“These are good initial steps towards instituting transparency and consistency into our state’s planning system but must be followed through with the detail needed to ensure they support rather than hinder good development.”