Infrastructure contributions will undergo significant
changes, and if not kill, then certainly wound, voluntary planning
NSW's White Paper and exposure draft Planning Bill intend to
simplify and streamline the regime for contributions for
The setting of contributions will be guided by a number of
principles to be included in a NSW planning policy on
infrastructure. Contributions will be limited to a number of
specific categories of infrastructure; they are the only ones upon
which contributions can be sought.
Contributions will be based on standardised benchmark costs to
be set by IPART, and councils will need to justify any departure
from those benchmark costs for specific infrastructure.
There will be three kinds of infrastructure contributions:
local infrastructure (such as roads and drainage);
regional infrastructure (such as regional and state roads,
transport infrastructure, schools and regional open space);
regional growth funds.
Contributions can be applied to development under Part 4 and
private State infrastructure development under Part 5.
Councils will only be able to impose contributions for local
infrastructure if they have a local infrastructure plan, with those
contributions required to be applied within three years. The Land
and Environment Court will continue to have jurisdiction to hear
appeals against conditions requiring contributions and be able to
set aside contributions if it considers them unreasonable, even if
authorised under a local infrastructure plan.
Growth infrastructure plans
Underpinning regional infrastructure contributions will be
growth infrastructure plans. These plans will identify ten and five
year spatial infrastructure requirements to assist in developing a
contributions schedule for regional infrastructure. These plans
will also include a requirement for contestability assessment which
provides an opportunity for the private sector to participate in
the delivery, design, construction and operation of regional
The death of VPAs?
While the Planning Bill retains the provisions in the
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 in relation to
voluntary planning agreements, the White Paper makes clear that
regimes to impose contributions outside the contributions plan
regime will be discouraged.
Consequently, contributions required through conditions of
consent or voluntary planning agreements will be discouraged or not
accepted. It is proposed that voluntary planning agreements will
only be available in relation to State significant development.
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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