New direction on local council levies

21 March 2011

The NSW Government has issued another ministerial direction on “section 94” local development levies.

This is the third such direction in the last 12 months, and replaces two previous directions (the most recent one was issued last September).

The first ministerial direction was revoked when the government watered down its development levy cap last year.  Significant legal problems were uncovered with the second direction in the Land and Environment Court towards the end of year; it appeared poor drafting may have meant that joint regional planning panels were compelled to apply the full section 94 impost in a contributions plan, even if that exceeded the governments cap.

The Urban Taskforce raised consequences of this Court decision at the highest levels of government, and this is one reason why the new direction has been issued (the legal drafting problem has been addressed).

However, there other more substantial changes too. New areas are now subject to a $30,000 cap, rather than a $20,000 cap. These are:

  • the Riverstone and Alex Avenue precincts in Blacktown;
  • various areas within Shoalhaven City Council; and
  • land in the West Dapto Release Area in Wollongong.

The full direction is available here.