Alex Greenwich, Member for Sydney in the NSW Parliament, has urged the Berejiklian Government to withdraw the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill 2021 – a controversial document which aims to implement sweeping reforms to the state’s infrastructure contributions framework.
Speaking to the Sentinel, Mr Greenwich said the Bill could rob local councils of vital funds by redirecting developers’ contributions away from local government bodies to the state government.
“The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill … could hamstring the funds councils rely on to ensure residents in new developments have access to necessary services and infrastructure, without draining on existing facilities,” Mr Greenwich said.
“Extraordinarily, the Bill was inappropriately attached to the budget appropriation bills without any notice or opportunity for assessment or consultation,” he said.
Mr Greenwich said he had raised the issue with parliamentary colleagues, telling the Sentinel: “I have informed the government that I do not support this bill and will continue to push for its withdrawal.”
‘Total disregard for local government’
They want us to take the heat’: Vithoulkas
Councillor Angela Vithoulkas from the Small Business Party, told the Sentinel the Bill was an “outrageous” act, which equated to “robbing” councils of vital funds.
“What the state government is effectively saying is ‘I’m going to need 50 per cent of your allowance because things are tough right now. And to make up the shortfall, you can raise your rates,’” she said.
“Every council relies on developers’ contributions to conduct their essential business and provide infrastructure.
“Taking money from us and expecting us to raise our rates to cover the shortfall … means they want us to take the heat for their decisions.”
Ms Vithoulkas – who is running for a third term as a City of Sydney councillor at the NSW local government elections in December – said residents and businesses could not be burdened with further costs, citing the ongoing economic impacts of the Covid-19 lockdown, as well as rising land taxes.