Can I comment on the draft West Dapto Section 94 Development Contributions Plan?

Yes, if you would like to let us know what you think about the draft West Dapto Section 94 Development Contribution Plan please write to: The General Manager, Locked Bag 8821, WOLLONGONG DC NSW 2500 or send an email to records@wollongong.nsw.gov.au. 

Please note the reference number ESP-100.03.011 in your submission. Please read Council's Privacy Notification before making a submission. The closing date for submissions is 10 February 2016.

Does the West Dapto Section 94 Plan propose a rate rise?

Council is not looking to increase rates as part of this process. The intent of the draft Plan is to seek funding from the State Government to support infrastructure provision in the regionally significant West Dapto Urban Release Area. 

West Dapto will provide a significant amount of new housing and population growth for the region as stated within the Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan. For more information on the regional significance of West Dapto please refer to the Regional Plan on the Department of Planning and Environment's website: http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/illawarra


Why do we need the level of infrastructure described in the Plan?

The level of infrastructure proposed for West Dapto is to ensure existing and future communities have the required services and facilities to support their daily needs.

The types of infrastructure described within the Section 94 Plan are informed by several background studies that were undertaken as part of the master planning of West Dapto. This master planning process identified the potential number of homes to be built. This information was then used to determine the amount of roads, parks, community centres and stormwater detention basins needed to support the community.

These housing and population figures are further refined through the Neighbourhood Planning Process and development applications. This means that the West Dapto master plan is constantly evolving and being updated as we gain more specific site based knowledge within the release area. 

The Section 94 Plan can  be updated as needed to reflect true costs or changes to required infrastructure where supported by a background study and a Council resolution.

How was the infrastructure within the Plan costed?

The Plan and its costs have been reviewed in line with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal's (IPART's) Benchmarking Report and real costs incurred by Council associated with the delivery of roads, bridges, drainage and open space.

The Plan includes updated land costs provided by valuations undertaken in October 2015, the Draft Plan incorporating all Council resolutions to date and includes the additional population, dwellings, and costs associated with the Yallah-Marshall Mount Structure Plan.

Council will forward the draft West Dapto Section 94 Plan to the IPART for review of these costings.

The Plan makes provision for indexing of the infrastructure costs by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as it is recognised that future inflation will continue to increase costs.

What happens next? What is the process for the IPART review?

The next step is to submit the draft West Dapto Section 94 Development Contributions Plan to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for review. The purpose of this review is to seek alternate sources of funding to provide infrastructure for the growing West Dapto community. The need for additional funding arises because the West Dapto Section 94 Plan predicts that income received from development will be significantly less than expenditure required for infrastructure.

IPART will assess the Section 94 Plan and will then publish a report of its findings on its website along with a fact sheet and media release. Copies of the report are sent to the Minister, the Department of Planning and Environment and the Council. The Minister considers the IPART report and may request
the Council make further amendments the plan prior to its adoption by Council.

Should the Plan be found to be reasonable by the IPART and the Minister, Council may adopt the Plan and seek funding from the State Government under the Local Infrastructure Growth Scheme (LIGS) to cover the gap in funding for West Dapto infrastructure over the current Section 94 cap.

To be eligible for funding, a Council must have a development contributions plan reviewed and approved by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). This review must conclude that Council cannot fund essential infrastructure if the cap on contributions is applied.

Has this IPART process been followed elsewhere?

Yes, the Hills and Blacktown Councils have had Section 94 Plans reviewed by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) and the State Government currently pays the difference between the cap and the costs of infrastructure in these urban release areas.

To be eligible for State Government funding under the Local Infrastructure Growth Scheme (LIGS), a Council must have a development contribution plan reviewed and approved by the IPART.

What is the difference between a Section 94 Plan and a Section 94A Plan?

The Wollongong Section 94A Development Contributions Plan applies to Wollongong LGA with exception of West Dapto and Horsley.

The Plan is a levy based system that seeks a percentage of development cost to pay for upgrades to existing infrastructure such as roads, paths and open space as a result of intensified demand from new development.

Generally, the developer pays between 0.5 and 1% of the total cost if total costs exceed $100,000. For development in the Wollongong City Centre, an additional 1% is charged in the B3 Commercial Core Zone.

The West Dapto Section 94 Development Contribution Plan applies to West Dapto Release Area and Horsley.

The Plan is also levy based but payment is not calculated as a percentage of the cost of development. Currently the Section 94 Levy is applied on a  “per additional lot or dwelling” basis at a rate of $30,000 per lot.

This is because West Dapto Release Area needs new roads, community centres, open space and has to factor in the cost of new land acquisitions. This infrastructure is required for the new communities living in West Dapto.

These services cost more to deliver than an upgrade to an existing service. This is the key difference between the costs and fees in a Section 94 Plan vs Section 94A Plan.