The Victorian government hopes to expedite the creation of much-needed urban infrastructure in the state by overhauling the development contribution system.
Victorian minister for planning Richard Wynne has introduced a bill to replace the current contributions system that has been place for the past two decades, as part of efforts to remove needless roadblocks to approvals.
According to Wynne, the inefficiencies of the existing system serve as a major impediment to the development of vital infrastructure in Victoria.
“As our cities grow, development contributions will help fund essential infrastructure. But the system was unclear, lacked transparency and was an unnecessary burden,” said Wynne. “The Andrews Labor government is cutting planning red tape to encourage growth and develop sustainable, vibrant communities.”
Developer contributions are used to fund key infrastructure projects such as roads, as well as sports and community facilities.
According to the Victorian government, the reforms were drafted following extensive consultation with industry and have been long awaited by the planning and development sectors.
The Bill seeks to amend the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Subdivision act 1988 based upon recommendations from the Standard Development Contributions Advisory Committee on the creation of a new system of standardised levies for development contributions.
The system outlined by the new legislation will provide a range of standard levies for various development contexts and land usages in order to ensure that key infrastructure in local communities can secure funding.
The new legislation contains little detail on the proposed levies, with rates and indexation mechanisms to be determined following further consultation with councils and the property sector.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will cooperate with the Implementation Reference Group to determine details concerning the levies prior to the system's scheduled launch at the start of 2016.
Following its launch, the new system will initially be applied to areas designated for new or strategic urban development.
The creation of key infrastructure is of critical importance to Victoria’s ongoing urban development, given that the state is expected to post rapid population growth over upcoming decades, with some experts predicting that Melbourne is already on track to become one of the world’s densest cities.