Friday, 15 March 2019 16:48

Reform needed to fund community infrastructure

Western Sydney residents enjoying their local community centre. Western Sydney residents enjoying their local community centre.

Media release, 15 March, 2019

The Western Sydney Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has called on both Liberal and Labor parties to outline how they will address Western Sydney’s social infrastructure backlog following the NSW Elections on March 23rd 2019.

WSROC President Cr Barry Calvert said “Funding adequate levels of social infrastructure such as sports facilities, community centres, libraries and swimming pools is a major challenge for local governments, particularly those in rapidly growing areas such as Western Sydney.”

“These types of local facilities are essential for ensuring our communities are great places to live but funding them is expensive.

“The signing of the Western City Deal announced a $150 million Liveability Fund to be shared among participating councils. This significant pot of money is greatly welcomed, however we must recognise that it is not a long-term solution for Western Sydney’s liveability.

“At the current rate of growth, Greater Western Sydney councils would need $150 million every year for the next 20 years. Already, Western Sydney councils are facing a multi-billion-dollar social infrastructure backlog.

“We need to have a sensible discussion about how social infrastructure is funded for the long term; not just for certain council areas, but right across Greater Western Sydney and beyond,” said Cr Calvert.

Councils’ have three primary sources of funding for the delivery of liveability infrastructure– all of which are set by the state and federal government:


Which have been pegged at unsustainable levels for several years.

Grant funding

Grants are a great option for one-off projects but are not a sustainable long-term solution for delivering what communities need. Furthermore, grants are designed to meet the priorities of the state or federal government rather than the local community.

Developer contributions (Section 7.11)

Developer contribution plans traditionally cover all necessary works for new communities such as roads, drainage, open space and community infrastructure.  However, if a council wishes to seek more than the standard $30,000 per lot/dwelling, it cannot include social infrastructure such as neighbourhood centres, pools and libraries in those plans; which are the things that make for liveable neighbourhoods. 

“Government policy states that this social infrastructure is ‘non-essential’ for communities, which means that Sydney’s new growth areas will miss out on the social infrastructure that the established areas of Sydney have enjoyed since the planning act was introduced in 1979.

“Councils are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We are facing an unprecedented demand for new services and community infrastructure yet have little control over the amount of money coming in,” said Cr Calvert.

“The current system is not working for councils or the people of Western Sydney. We must reform the way we fund local infrastructure if we are to build more liveable communities for the people of Western Sydney.

“WSROC calls on our next NSW Government to consider how they will address this imbalance following the NSW Election on March 23rd,” he said.



Media contact: Kelly-Anne Gee, 02 9671 4333, 0425 871 868 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  



Last modified on Tuesday, 06 August 2019 15:54

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