Passed in the Legislative Council on Tuesday was a bill to replace the state’s special infrastructure contribution scheme with a housing and productivity contribution scheme to support regional infrastructure. Also introduced was a bill to trial a demerit point reduction program. Read on for more…
INTRODUCED: ROAD TRANSPORT AMENDMENT (DEMERIT POINT REDUCTION TRIAL) BILL 2023
The Road Transport Amendment (Demerit Point Reduction Trial) Bill 2023 was introduced by the Minister for Roads, the Hon John Graham. The bill proposes amendments to the Road Transport Act 2013 to allow for a 12-month trial of a demerit point reduction scheme, intended to encourage drivers to maintain clean driving records. Under the trial, drivers who remain offence free during the period would have one of their earlier demerit points removed from the state’s demerit points register. The trial period, if not separately prescribed, is the period starting on 17 January 2023 and ending on 16 January 2024.
After its introduction to the House, debate on the bill was adjourned until after the winter recess.
PASSED: ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND ASSESSMENT AMENDMENT (HOUSING AND PRODUCTIVITY CONTRIBUTIONS) BILL 2023
On the tabling of the Planning and Environment Committee’s inquiry report into the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Housing and Productivity Contributions) Bill 2023, the bill was restored to the business agenda for the House’s consideration on Tuesday. Introduced by the Hon Courtney Houssos, Minister for Finance, the bill establishes a housing and productivity contributions scheme to deliver regional infrastructure that supports and promotes housing and economic activity. Contributions to the scheme will come from developer charges as per Ministerial planning orders made by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, and will provide for regional infrastructure including public amenities or public services, affordable housing, transport infrastructure, regional or state roads, and measures to conserve or enhance the natural environment. To facilitate this, the bill establishes two funds to which contributions may be made:
- The Strategic Biodiversity Contributions Fund administered by the Planning Secretary
- The Housing and Productivity Fund administered by the Secretary of the Treasury.
During the second reading debate, contributions were made by members of the Opposition, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, Shooters Fishers and Farmers and The Greens. See all members’ contributions in the Hansard record.
The second reading of the bill was agreed to on division (Ayes: 21/Noes: 15), with members of the Opposition, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the Liberal Democratic Party voting in the negative.
When the House resolved into committee of the whole:
- Two amendments were moved by Ms Sue Higginson on behalf of The Greens and agreed to on the voices. The first sought to expand the definition of regional infrastructure to which funds could be allocated to include public housing, and the second amendment related to biodiversity measures that can be funded by infrastructure contributions in relation to federally approved plans so that they directly conserve or enhance the natural environment.
- Four amendments were moved by the Hon Tanya Mihailuk on behalf of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, two of which related to ensuring contributions could only be spent in the local government area in which they were collected. These were negatived on the voices. The other two amendments sought to delay the need to make payments, so that any contributions would be payable upon the issue of an occupation certificate rather than a construction certificate, and that the scheme would not commence for three years. These amendments were negatived on division (Ayes: 15/ Noes: 21).
- Ms Boyd, on behalf of The Greens, moved one final amendment which sought to ensure the Treasurer would table in Parliament an annual report on the contributions made under the scheme, which was agreed to on the voices.
The House divided again on the third reading of the bill (Ayes: 21/Noes: 15), with members of the Opposition, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the Liberal Democratic Party again voting in the negative. The bill as amended was then returned to the Legislative Assembly for concurrence.
COMMITTEE REPORTS & GOVERNMENT RESPONSES
The receipt of the first Upper House inquiry report for the 58th Parliament was announced in the chamber on Tuesday: Inquiry into the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Housing and Productivity Contributions) Bill 2023, from the Planning and Environment Committee.
Also announced as received were:
- Government response to inquiry report 2022 Review of the Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme
- Government response to inquiry report 2022 Review of the Lifetime Care and Support scheme.
OTHER REPORTS TABLED AND REPORTED IN THE THOUSE
Just some of the reports tabled or reported in the House on Tuesday included:
- Operation Denali (June 2023 report of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission)
- 2023 Annual Determination – Local Government Remuneration Tribunal (June 2023 report from the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal)
- Management of the Critical Communications Enhancement Program (June 2023 performance audit report of the Auditor-General)
- State Heritage Assets (June 2023 performance audit report of the Auditor-General)