Following its introduction to Parliament in November this year, public submissions are now being called on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No.3). Part of the Government's implementation of its "Better Local Government" programme, the Bill makes sweeping changes to the development contribution provisions in the Local Government Act 2002 and provides for broader changes to local government aimed at enhancing the efficiency of local government services and consultation. You can view our previous newsletter item on the Bill and its potential implications for business here.
The Bill proposes significant changes to the development contributions regime, including a new purpose for development contributions - to ensure development contributions recover "a fair, equitable, and proportionate portion of the costs of capital expenditure necessary to service growth." In addition, the Bill:
- introduces new principles to be taken into account by councils when preparing and implementing their development contributions policies;
- narrows the range of infrastructure that can be financed by development contributions, and restricts the ability to levy charges for reserves for non-residential development;
- introduces a new development contributions objection process, with independent decision makers;
- makes changes to improve the transparency of councils’ development contributions policies, and encourage the provision of private developer agreements;
- provides for broader changes to local government, including measures to encourage more collaboration and shared services between local authorities to reduce the costs of managing and delivering services; and
- proposes several changes to long-term plans and annual plans, including more efficient and flexible consultation, reducing unnecessary duplication between those plans, and requiring greater transparency about how councils are planning and managing local infrastructure over the long-term.
This Bill will be of particular interest to any business which is faced with paying development contributions. Submissions are due on Friday 14 February 2014. It is proposed that the Local Government and Environment Select Committee will be asked to report back to Parliament in May 2014, so the Bill can be passed by June 2014. Please contact us if you would like to discuss what the Bill may mean for you or your business, or if you would like assistance to submit on the Bill.