Increased Council Charges to hit Newcastle home buyers

Urban Taskforce Chief Executive, Tom Forrest, today slammed the decision taken by Newcastle City Council to vote for a massive hike in developer contributions from $13,645.75 to $30,274.30.

“At a time when inflation is only 1.7% and wages growth is even lower, how can Council justify a hike in the cap on developer contributions to infrastructure of 222%?” Mr Forrest said.

“This all arises as a result of the NSW Government decision to remove the caps on developer contributions.

“Councils are left with a difficult choice.  Rates are pegged. Macquarie Street is ignoring the infrastructure needs of Newcastle, so Council has effectively hit new home buyers with a massive hike in charges.

“These new charges will make new home ownership in Newcastle less affordable. Worse, it will result in many developments simply not going ahead as the feasibility of project development is smashed.  This will have impact on economic growth of Newcastle and the Hunter Region.

“The Urban Taskforce was encouraged by some Council members arguing that the costs of moving into that area should be borne by all ratepayers rather than new residents who often already struggle moving into a new development”, Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest said that it was unfair to lump the full costs of social infrastructure, like playing fields, on new home buyers.

The playing fields in the city have been paid for by the rates of all Novocastrians and the playing fields in Minmi and Fletcher should be similarly funded.

In many cases, the developer contributes the land on which the Council provides those sporting facilities. This land is set aside during the zoning process.

The issue in Newcastle concerning increased charges in the western corridor developments at Minmi and Fletcher is a real example of the stress placed on housing affordability by State and local government charges.

“Young families looking to purchase a home on Newcastle’s western fringe are being smashed by a cash hungry Council.  The NSW Government has removed its caps on fees, and this is just the start of the shift to making new home buyers pay for local infrastructure.

“The bottom line is that these increases are unaffordable and must be reversed”, Mr Forrest said.


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