Push for higher developer fees

THE NSW Government has been swamped with applications from local councils wanting to charge developers higher fees than allowed under recently imposed limits.

And Tweed Shire Council is claiming at least some of the credit for raising awareness of the issue among sister councils with warning that the cap on charges will block provision of basic infrastructure.

Tweed took the issue to a recent regional conference of the NSW local government and shires associations, with the matter now on the agenda for a state conference in June.

That could lead to calls for the government to scrap the limit - set at $20,000 in charges for each new block of land created by a developer - or at least drastically rethink its policy.

The $20,000 limit has hit Tweed hard, because the council had been planing to charge $44,000 or more for many new blocks, particularly those in the planned new townships of Cobaki Lakes and Kings Forest, which together would provide 10,000 more homes.

“It's just another bungle by the state government,” a leading critic of the fees cap, Tweed councillor Warren Polglase said yesterday.

“The argument that this would provide affordable housing is a complete furphy. The affordability of land depends on supply and demand.”

Cr Polglase said the fees cap would leave the council out of pocket for a huge range of services from water and sewerage to parks, libraries and surf lifeguards.

“Infrastructure is not going down in price. It's going up in price,” he said.

“We would be out of pocket as a council.

“The costs should come out of the developers' pockets, not out of ratepayers' pockets.”

Increasing rates bills, he warned, would hit existing residents rather than those choosing to move to the area.

After years of determining their own developer levies, known as Section 94 contributions, councils were warned last year to keep charges down to $20,000 per residential lot from April 30.

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