Tonight the elected Council resolved to give a huge 94% discount on its contribution fees to a planned industrial expansion on Kooragang Island.
All development across the Local Government Area (except for Blue Gum hills and the City Centre) is required to pay a development levy under the Newcastle City Council Section 94A Development Contributions Plan 2006.
This Plan applies to all development for urban housing, industrial development and commercial development with an estimated value over $100,000. (page 1 of the Plan) The contribution is simply a percentage of the development cost. From $100,001 to $200,000 the contribution is 0.5%, over $200,000 it is 1.0%.
Orica is proposing to carry out a major expansion of its operations at an estimated cost of $490 million and with a 25% increase in staff. The proposed development involves the expansion of ORICA’s ammonium nitrate facility in order to produce up to approximately 750,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate per annum (increased from 430,000 per annum).
As the development is more than $20 million, it comes under Frank Sartor's Major Projects State Environmental Planning Policy and the controversial Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act applies.
Orica have argued that, unlike other development, the development contribution rules shouldn't apply to them.
Unlike the mums and dads extending their homes, or the small business wanting to expand their premises, Orica can't afford it. The $490 million development shouldn't be thought of as a $490 million development but something much much less.
They should have a 94% discount.
To be considered under the controversial Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act they are a BIG development, but to contribute back to the community they are a SMALL development.
And most of the elected Council agreed!
And at a time when Council is struggling to find funds to put into community infrastructure, Council agrees to a $4,628,000 discount.
Council resolved to advise Orica and the Minister of Planning that Council is prepared to accept payment of a contribution of $272,000 towards the upgrading of Corroba Oval at Stockton in association with the proposed major expansion of the existing Orica ammonium nitrate plant on Kooragang Island in lieu of any Section 94A contribution that may be payable.
For: The Lord Mayor (Councillor J S Tate), Councillors G Boyd, A Buman, S Claydon, T Crakanthorp, M Jackson, B Luke, N Nelmes, S Connell and S Sharpe.
Against: Councillor M Osborne
PS and no one is suggesting changing the Newcastle City Council Section 94A Development Contributions Plan 2006 to give everyone a discount.