Tweed may stop developments

TWEED Shire Council appears likely to go it alone if it follows through on threats to stop developments over changes to rules around developer contributions, after local councils said the changes would make little difference to them.

Tweed mayor Warren Polglase issued the threat yesterday after several Sydney councils announced they would refuse to assess development applications until compensated for the shortfall between the money they needed and a new $20,000 cap on developer contributions announced in the NSW Budget this week.

However, the Ballina, Lismore and Richmond Valley councils yesterday said the cap would come in above the average charge they put on developers building new houses.

The contributions are used to fund things such as new roads and other community infrastructure, such as community centres and halls.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said her council averaged about $11,000 per contribution; Ballina mayor Phillip Silver said his council averaged a little under $20,000; Richmond Valley mayor Col Sullivan said his council also generally came in under the $20,000 mark for contributions on individual houses.

All three expressed disquiet about the changes, but Cr Silver said they had been accompanied by another change he greatly welcomed.

Also announced in the Budget were new rules handing the power to decide how much councils can increase their rates to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.

Until now the Local Government Minister has decided on rate rises, which has been a sore point for councils struggling to make ends meet.

“From my point of view, that's the appropriate place to adjudicate on rate increases,” Cr Silver said.

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