The Property Council of Australia has welcomed today’s announcement by Premier Iemma that State and local infrastructure levies on new housing in Sydney’s Growth Centres will be cut by up to 40 per cent (or $25,000 per lot), but said the industry was concerned about whether costs in infill areas would rise.
“The move to rein in levies on new housing is very welcome and will help Sydney’s affordability equation,” said NSW executive director Ken Morrison.
“The Government has taken back funding responsibility for building schools and hospitals which is what they should do.
“They’ve also taken an important step to rein in what local councils can use Section 94 contributions to fund, bringing it back to essential projects rather than a fanciful wishlist.
“NSW is facing a dire housing situation, with construction at record lows, so the fact is something had to be done.
“While falling short of abolishing levies altogether, this is still good news for Sydney’s housing industry.
“However, we are concerned about whether costs will go up for infill development. At the moment this is unclear.
“The last thing we want to see is a repeat of the mistakes of the past and a jack up in the cost for new projects in these areas. We’ll be seeking to work with the Government to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
The Property Council said the creation of an Urban Improvement Fund to hold State and local levies should improve infrastructure delivery times in the Growth Centres.
“We welcome the fiscal discipline the Government has injected into the process to provide greater efficiency and equity and for boosting their own funding contribution by $2 billion,” Mr Morrison said.
“Levies collected to fund infrastructure should be spent in a timely way. The fact that metro councils have amassed $750 million in unspent section 94 levies shows that this is not happening now.
“The new timeframes and accountability is an improvement on the current system and should lead to faster delivery of infrastructure projects.”
The Property Council also welcomed the reforms about when levies were to be payable and reduced charges for accelerated precincts.
Ken Morrison, NSW Executive Director, 02 9033 1906 or 0412 233 715