Align growth with infrastructure
A growth infrastructure compact would model the best outcome by location and compare this across Greater Sydney. This would provide a tool to determine the most effective and appropriate locations for growth, taking into consideration a wide range of variables within a local context. Taken together, growth infrastructure compact locations could have the potential to form a set of priority locations that inform city-wide planning.
This innovative approach is being piloted in the Greater Parramatta and the Olympic Peninsula (GPOP) area (refer to Objective 5). The outcomes of the pilot will potentially inform government on how the growth infrastructure compact could provide an important benchmark for understanding the relative costs and benefits of new development. These benchmarks would provide regional and district planning activities with a greater understanding of potential infrastructure priorities and planning decisions. In delivering on the growth infrastructure compact initiative, existing Planned Precincts and Growth Areas will be unaffected.
Across Greater Sydney significant areas have already been committed to growth and change. At the same time the NSW Government is allocating unprecedented levels of investment in transport, education and health (refer to Figure 8). This is alongside investment in arts and cultural facilities across the region.
However, there is room to better align growth with infrastructure by identifying place-based infrastructure priorities. This would take into account the capacity of existing infrastructure and existing infrastructure commitments and programs such as Special Infrastructure Contributions, affordable housing initiatives, social housing programs and augmentation of utilities.
The growth infrastructure compact could also provide greater context for coordination with infrastructure delivered by local governments. In time, and as appropriate, this approach could be expanded to include local infrastructure requirements.
Fund and finance infrastructure
Resources are finite so infrastructure investments need to be prioritised to deliver maximum benefits to the community. Even with the potential to improve decision-making through growth infrastructure compacts, multiple sources of funding are required to cover the cost of new infrastructure across Greater Sydney.
Many sources of funds are in place already, including funding from consolidated revenue and asset recycling, user charges, contributions from local developments, voluntary planning agreements, council rates and private investment. The NSW Government is investigating Special Infrastructure Contributions in Planned Precincts to fund critical infrastructure.
Many funding sources are provided via contributions from development. Development needs to support the funding of infrastructure at an appropriate level, but should not be unreasonably burdened to the extent that projects become unviable. Part of the solution could rely on growth infrastructure compacts identifying the most costeffective locations for growth, based on existing and future infrastructure capacity. Another part of this solution relates to industry and governments being certain of cumulative development costs. There is a need for guidance to address the cumulative impacts of development contributions on development feasibility and delivery across Greater Sydney.
Established cost-recovery mechanisms for infrastructure can operate alongside other major project value-sharing mechanisms. Value sharing involves identifying and raising funds additional to those from business-as-usual development activities. Value-sharing assessments should be undertaken as part of the business case development process. While value sharing may provide a useful contribution to project funding, it will not form a major part of the funding equation in most cases. It is important to recognise that value sharing and other cost recovery mechanisms contribute to only a part of the funding required for infrastructure delivery. The majority is still funded by the NSW Government.