Local development levies

16 February 2011

In December we reported that the NSW Land and Environment Court has stated that the government’s $20,000/$30,000 per lot cap on development levies does not apply to non-council consent authorities, such as joint regional planning panels.

Apparently, this interpretation arose because the Department of Planning’s formal direction imposing the cap (available here) says it only applies to “councils as consent authorities”. The judgment of the land and Environment Court is here. The relevant paragraph is number 15.

The Court made this statement as an aside. It was not a central issue in the case. Nonetheless, we made representations on the issue (see the letter here). The Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, has replied and advised us that the Department has a different view (i.e. the cap on levies does apply to panel decisions), and has told the joint regional planning panel chairs to act in accordance with the Department’s views. The Minister’s letter is here.