Submission for a State and National Inquiry into Planning and Financing Growth Centres at the Local Government Level

Author: Raymond Charles Rauscher rayc.rauscher@gmail.com

Executive Summary

The catalyst for this submission are the proposer’s (Rauscher) conclusions reached in researching the planning and financing of Australian urban growth centres at the local government level. One main conclusion is the need for the State and Federal Governments (in cooperation with peak Local Government bodies) to examine different models (including value capture planning) to best plan and finance these growth centres. It is the Federal urban growth policy making that directly affects States and Local Government bodies. This applies, for example, to the Central Coast Council, a case study focus of this submission. In summary, it is proposed that the NSW State and the Federal Government initiate an inquiry under the title State and National Inquiry into Planning and Financing Growth Centres at the Local Government Level.

Introduction

I would like introduce myself as a resident and town planner living in East Gosford, Central Coast on New South Wales. I have lived on the Central Coast since 1978 and have witnessed the actions of the three levels of government (Federal, State and Local) in planning and financing the growth of the Central Coast. I am making this submission given in particular the current challenges local councils (such as the Central Coast Council) face in planning and financing infrastructure and services in urban and regional growth areas.

I have recently completed three papers on the above subject that may assist all three levels of government in considering this submission’s proposal. The papers are as follows (with a brief comment after each, including how to access the papers):

  1. Planning and Financing Growth Centres – Role of State, Federal and Local Governments (Case Study Central Coast Region, NSW) (Rauscher 18 June 2021)
  • Planning Infrastructure Contributions within a Value Capture Framework (Rauscher 11 Sept 2021)
  • Regional Growth Centre Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Gosford City Centre Revitalisation (GCCR) (Rauscher 2021)
  1. Planning and Financing Growth Centres – Role of State, Federal and Local Governments (Case Study Central Coast Region, NSW) (Rauscher 18 June 2021)

This above paper (attached) (11p) was written in the light of the Central Coast Council’s (case study) current (2016-2021) planning and financial challenges in meeting growth centre needs. The paper was submitted to the NSW Commissioner of Public Inquiry – Central Coast Council (Term of Reference #3 – Other Matters). The paper examines planning and financing of growth centres (case study Central Coast) in the context of the roles of: State (New South Wales) (herein referred to as the State), Federal Government; and Local Government (Central Coast Council) (herein referred to as the Council).

The paper notes that one critical issue that has affected the operations of the Council (thus leading to the above Public Inquiry) is the lack of adequate funding for the Council to meet growth centre demands for infrastructure and services. The public focus since the State dismissal of the Councillors (2020) has been primarily (and acknowledged in this submission as important) on issues of: 1. the Council’s debt; 2. cost of the amalgamation of two councils into one; and, 3. responsibilities of Councillors and Council staff.

While these above issues are important and are being examined by the Commissioner (noted above) I submit the issues are broadly hinged on a general lack of funds available for the Council to finance required growth centre related infrastructure and services. A prime basis of this lack of funding is the unique features (shared with many other declared growth centres throughout Australia) of the Central Coast Region, that is:

1. Extensive and vulnerable environment of the region

2. Backlog of infrastructure and service requirements of the current population (the Central Coast being declared a State growth region in 1975 (46 years ago)

3. Continued costs of meeting settlement requirements of an incoming population (as determined usually by State urban settlement policies)

The implications of these above features to the Central Coast Council’s planning and financing of urban growth are severe and addressed in the paper. These implications may well apply to local government councils in other growth centres within Australia.

2. Planning Infrastructure Contributions within a Value Capture Framework (Rauscher 11 Sept 2021)

This paper (attached) (15p) focuses on the NSW Productivity Commissioner’s Final Report on the Review of the Infrastructure Contributions System (Dec 2020) and associated proposed legislation. The paper examines infrastructure provision within a value capture planning (VCP) framework. The paper outlines the importance for the NSW Government to adopt value capture principles in planning the provision of infrastructure and services (this would apply for instance to an area such as the Central Coast).

The paper argues that adopting a VCP framework could ensure certainty that funds are available to meet projected infrastructure and service needs stemming from development. The paper concludes that the NSW infrastructure contributions inquiry provides an ideal opportunity for the government to adopt required policies to meet future infrastructure and service needs, particularly in growth areas. The paper was recently forwarded (11 Sept 2021) to the NSW Minister for Planning (Hon. Bob Stokes) for his consideration.

3. Regional Growth Centre Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Gosford City Centre Revitalisation (GCCR) (Rauscher 2021)

This third paper outlines the background to, and provides a model for, value capture planning (VCP). The paper references the book Renewing Cities with Value Capture Planning (Rauscher 2021). Four city and regional growth areas (two in Sydney and two regional) are examined in respect to achieving through value capture policies: equitable housing; public and open spaces; and, sustainable transport. The book’s Chapter 5 (Regional Growth Centre Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Gosford City Centre Revitalisation (GCCR) is of relevance to planning and financing regional growth centres in areas such as the Central Coast. In a similar vein, Chapter 6 (Regional Capital City Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Area (GRMA) is relative to regional capitals’ planning and financing growth areas. The book and the individual chapters noted are accessible and listed in the References at the end of this submission. Finally, and relative to the subject of this submission, there is recent legislation adopted by the Victorian Government (July 2021) where principles of value capture in growth areas are examined. That legislation is built around the principle of ‘windfall gain’ (or ‘land value uplift’) applying to land rezoned for urban growth expansion.

Conclusions and Directions

In this submission there is a central argument for the States (i.e. NSW) and the Federal Government (in cooperation with Local Government peak bodies) to examine the planning and financing of growth centres at the local government level. The submission suggests this be done in the form of a State and National Inquiry into Planning and Financing Growth Centres at the Local Government Level. It’s important to observe that it is the Federal level of planning and financing urban growth that States and Local Government (such as the Central Coast Council case example) are dependent on.  Finally, it’s suggested that NSW State and Federal Members in that State’s growth centres be engaged to support this submission’s suggestion of an inquiry of this type.  

References

  1. NSW Productivity Commission (Dec 2020) NSW Productivity Commissioner’s Final Report on the Review of the Infrastructure Contributions System. NSW Productivity Commission, Sydney
  • Rauscher, Ray (18 June 2021) Planning and Financing Growth Centres – Role of State, Federal and Local Governments (Case Study Central Coast Region, NSW). Attachment
  • Rauscher, Ray (11 Sept 2021) Planning Infrastructure Contributions within a Value Capture Framework. Attachment
  • Rauscher, Ray (2021a) Regional Capital City Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Area (GRMA)

Regional Capital City Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Area (GNMA)

  • Rauscher, Ray (2021b) Regional Growth Centre Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Gosford City Centre Revitalisation (GCCR)

Regional Growth Centre Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Gosford City Centre Revitalisation (GCCR)

Contact

Dr Ray Rauscher

U4 #25 Waratah St

East Gosford 2250

Tel. 4311 6674 or M. 043 500 4844

rayc.rauscher@gmail.com

www.habitatassociation.com.a

Date 15 Sept 2021

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by davhol24 on September 23, 2021 at 4:41 am

    A forward thinking document for all three levels of Central Coast governance to consider.

    Reply

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