Fresh research has found that the system for determining infrastructure charges is “poor” and needs to be reworked.
Research released by the Property Council of Australia and conducted by Elton Consulting has found that high-growth areas are in need of a more efficient system for infrastructure funding.
Under the current system, the research claims that a charge placed on one dwelling can take up to 27 mortgage repayments to pay off.
“Sydney is growing and needs infrastructure, but we haven’t got the right funding system for delivering it. Currently, communities in high-growth areas are paying high infrastructure costs on their homes, and this is not sustainable or equitable,” said William Power, acting NSW executive director of the Property Council of Australia.
“These areas are quickly developing and so there is often a layer cake effect to the charges – some charges coming from the state government, others from local government – money drawn from multiple sources for much-needed infrastructure.
“A charge placed on each and every dwelling as it is the only way to pay for infrastructure; however, the average household income in these areas is often lower than other more established parts of Sydney. The question is: is this fair?”
In order to address the infrastructure spending issues, the Property Council of Australia is claiming the NSW state government should audit and record all infrastructure charges across Sydney, create an infrastructure charges calculator to give people the knowledge how much an infrastructure project will cost each dwelling in a suburb and give the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Authority more resources.
“Planning reform and infrastructure charges must be the top two priorities for minister [Rob] Stokes and the new Department of Planning and Industry to ensure Sydney is growing well,” Mr Power said.
Mr Power said the main problem with the infrastructure spending issues is a lack of focus and line of sight for what is being charged for what infrastructure and what the resulting community outcomes are, with some local councils juggling up to eight different contribution plans at one time.
“At the moment, no one has a complete view of what is being charged and for what outcome across Greater Sydney, and this is resulting in higher charges in some areas than others,” he said.
“It needs a rethink, and our recently elected state government needs to tackle this issue as one of their top priorities.”