Development contributions reform (6.05.2014)

Written on the 13 May 2014

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- My question is to the Minister for Planning, Mr Guy, and I ask: can the minister inform the house of what action the government is taking to reform development contributions to ensure vital infrastructure gets built at the time of development and not years after it?


Hon. M. J. GUY (Minister for Planning) -- Thanks to Ms Crozier for that question.

Last week I launched another major planning reform of this government -- that is, to reform development contributions in this state. Development contributions can be a vexed issue; certainly they are very complex. What obviously occurs throughout developments in growth areas around the state and around Australia is that developers are levied a contribution by either the state or local government planning authority to make a contribution to developments in growth areas.

This state government inherited a regime that was complex and dated and under which developments in growth areas were, for instance, paying for bocce courts, which are not essential infrastructure for some growth areas. The regime was frankly in great need of reform after 10, 12 or 15 years of lumbering along with the same style of contributions system.

I inform the house that Victoria has gone from having the most complex development contributions system in Australia to, when the legislation has finally passed through this Parliament, having the most transparent, streamlined and effective system of development contributions in Australia. The government has devised a system, both in a metropolitan and non-metropolitan context -- and, importantly for regional Victoria, also in a small town context -- that will see between 6 and 24 months wiped off the time it takes to bring a development to market. We will see a huge amount of savings in cost, time and red tape from this vital reform.

Importantly, the government has set forward very clear rules about what can be part of a development contributions regime and what cannot. The baskets that we have established, which are of essential infrastructure, recognise that this is a mechanism of contribution. It is not a co-payment or a budget line item for someone else; it is, importantly, a contribution -- not just in metropolitan growth areas, but throughout new urban renewal areas, as identified in Plan Melbourne, and urban renewal areas in regional Victoria.

I pay tribute if I can to the advisory committee I put together, headed by Kathy Mitchell, to provide advice on this important policy reform to the government, to local government and to industry stakeholders across the state, who have been part of this process for around 18 months. It is without doubt one of the most complex planning reforms that has been undertaken for the best part of 30 years.

Development contributions reform is, as I said, not an easy task -- it is a very cumbersome task -- but it is one that will ensure that Victoria's planning system becomes a reason for people to choose to invest in Victoria and not to back away from investment in this state.

The reform that we have put in place will last decades. It is reform that will be seen as the best in Australia. There are other states that are now actively looking at the system that we have put in place in Victoria. They wish to mimic it for their own states, and why would they not want to?

This reform will save time, will cut costs and will improve affordability. It will not only ensure that Victoria is the best place to build and to live, but it will showcase the fact that this government is building a better Victoria.

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