Helping councils unlock billions in unspent infrastructure funds

Published: 19 May 2020

The NSW Government is making it easier for councils to support communities and unlock billions of dollars in local infrastructure contribution funds to support jobs and stimulate the economy. 

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said new legislative changes will provide councils with more flexibility to invest funds in vital community infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Stokes said he would also require some councils with significant funds to prepare a works plan detailing how they will invest money in their accounts over the next 18 months, with the aim of increasing local job opportunities.

“By providing more flexibility with infrastructure contribution funds, councils will be able to quickly invest in vital local infrastructure including public spaces, roads, footpaths and drainage,” Mr Stokes said.

“The time for councils to invest in their local communities is now; releasing just one-third of council-held funds could generate an additional $1 billion of infrastructure spending to support the state’s economic recovery.”

The changes will permit councils to pool funds across contribution plans, allowing them to bring forward planned projects where all the funds may not yet have been received.

“We know local government wants to get these funds out the door and in addition to these changes we have a range of options to help councils invest the funds, including low cost loans, grant funding, and other support for strategic planning and capital works,” 
Mr Stokes said.  

Also announced today are seven projects in Blacktown and The Hills that will be supported by the government’s $70 million Accelerated Infrastructure Fund.

“This is funding for local roads, public space, stormwater infrastructure, and community facilities which will unlock plans for the development of thousands of new homes and employment land in the North West, and immediately bring down contributions charges,” Mr Stokes said.

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