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Home > AUSTRALIA > Mayors oppose government plan to reform infrastructure contributions | Wollondilly Advertiser

Mayors oppose government plan to reform infrastructure contributions | Wollondilly Advertiser

Mayors oppose government plan to reform infrastructure contributions |  Wollondilly Advertiser

More than 20 councils across Sydney, including Liverpool, Campbelltown, Sutherland and Bayside, have teamed up to fight a plan that could increase rates for their residents.

The twenty-three city councils launched a campaign demanding that the NSW government abandon its plan to divert local government funds to state revenue.

These funds are used by councils to help pay for local infrastructure projects such as playgrounds, sports fields, libraries and parks.

The councils have published an open letter in Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph, to raise public awareness of the ‘harmful effect’ this change in tax may have on their communities.

The councils argue that developer fees should be used where they are raised to ensure that new development is accompanied by appropriate investment in the surrounding area.

“As you know, the NSW Government imposes housing targets on local councils to meet Sydney’s population growth,” the letter said.

“And in return, our community trusts that our councils will provide the necessary facilities and infrastructure needed to support this growth and make people’s lives and local environments better.

“This infrastructure includes everything from roads and paths, to sports courts, parks and netball courts, to playgrounds, pools and libraries.

“We can only provide these facilities because we are able to raise contributions from property developers to help fund them.

“However, the changes now being planned by the NSW Government will divert much of these developer contributions from councils and to a state-controlled fund without clear accountability or transparency as to how it will be used.”

The letter states that the government is proposing that the councils raise their rates to make up for the revenue we are losing.

“This breaks the link between where contributions are made and where they are used. This threatens the ability of any council to provide much-needed new Community facilities and shifts this burden to our taxpayers,” the letter said.

“Premier, you are forcing us to choose between canceling projects and raising rates. And this is at a time of pandemic economic hardship for many people in the state.

“On behalf of our local communities, we urge you to withdraw the amendments currently being tabled to Parliament.”

Modeling of the Center for International Economics (CIE) estimates that the proposed bill would give the NSW government an additional $ 793 million a year in revenue (on average over 20 years).

Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said the potential detrimental effects of these legislative changes would be felt strongly in NSW’s fastest growing areas, such as Liverpool and Macarthur, for decades to come.

“Leaving councils with no option but to increase their rates to cover revenue shortfalls is not the answer,” she said.

“Our estimates suggest that a significant annual increase would be needed to cover the deficit if this bill progresses – an increase our taxpayers simply could not afford.”

The signatories are: Bayside, Blacktown City, Blue Mountains, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury Bankstown, City of Sydney, Cumberland, Hawkesbury, Hunter’s Hill, Inner West, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, North Sydney, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, Waverley, Willoughby and Woollahra.

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