Leppington resident Domenic Pezzano says proposed levy an 'unfair' expense for land owners

Sydney's newest airport is set to be built at Badgery's Creek, leaving surrounding land owners considering their future. Picture: Rob Homer
Sydney's newest airport is set to be built at Badgery's Creek, leaving surrounding land owners considering their future. Picture: Rob Homer

Leppington Progress Association's Domenic Pezzano says the government's planned Land Value Contribution Levy would have 'unfair impacts' on south west Sydney land owners.

Funds acquired through the contribution levy will be used to fund future public infrastructure projects.

However, the proposed land value contribution will 'only be applied to land subject to a future rezoning', according to Department of Planning documents.

Properties across Camden, Liverpool and surrounding regions are set to be rezoned or acquired by the government to make way for the future Western Sydney Airport and Aerotropolis.

Mr Pezzano said the proposed levy targeted the region's small land owners with yet another form of tax.

"It is totally discriminatory and unfair that rural property owners should be directed to contribute funds towards land acquisition and the construction of infrastructure," he said.

"The rural land owner is being penalised on a number of fronts via numerous contributions, such as levies, taxes and rates, whilst waiting numerous years for a rezoning to finally eventuate, only to be financially penalised again."

However, a Department of Planning spokesperson refuted claims that the proposed land value contribution was a tax.

"Our reforms redesign the current process to ensure a better way of planning and delivering infrastructure," the spokesperson said.

"Under the proposed changes, costs will be more evenly shared between landowners, who benefit from having their land rezoned for development, and developers and councils.

"This means councils can pay for land needed for local infrastructure, like drainage, paths and roads earlier, reducing costs for local investment, home buyers and the community.

"Communities and land owners will be consulted about any specific plans to introduce the land value contribution for areas yet to be rezoned."

Mr Pezzano said many of the Macarthur and Liverpool region's rural land owners had "diligently paid their rates and taxes" for many decades without basic infrastructure such as "kerb and guttering, street lighting, footpaths and connection to waste water services".

He said this plan should concern land owners across the state.

"Not only does it concern me, but it will have an impact on every rural land owner across NSW, that may have their land rezoned by the state government," he said.

"It is the responsibility of state and local government to ensure that 'greenfield' areas are supported by already established funding sources, without imposing another contribution or levy on the property owner."

The long-time Leppington local also said that the community consultation period, which ends on January 14, was not sufficient.

Mr Pezzano wants the submission period to be extended to March 2022 due to the ongoing COVID outbreak and school holiday period.

"It should be extended given the lack of knowledge and awareness that members of the wider community have in relation to this proposed legislation," he said.

"At present submissions are open until January 14, 2022, via email only. I strongly encourage landowners to submit an objection to this proposed 'land contribution tax'."

Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves said residents across Leppington, Bringelly, Catherine Field and Rossmore had reached out to him with their concerns and he had advocated for an extension of the submission period.

"I believe that the Land Value Contribution (LVC) unfairly targets Sydney Growth Areas which covers most of the Camden Local Government Area," he said.

"It is important to note that the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill 2021 does not impact the Western Sydney Aerotropolis and parts of Leppington that have already been rezoned.

"The Bill is currently with the Legislative Council. The matter on exhibition is the policy meaning that if the Bill doesn't pass the Legislative Council the policy will not come into effect.

"The changes proposed in the Bill were recommendations of the Productivity Commissions Review of Infrastructure Contributions in New South Wales. The report notes that current contributions only cover just over 50 per cent of required infrastructure and recommended the LVC to make up the difference."

Mr Sidgreaves encouraged all affected land owners to make a submission.

"The advice that I've been giving to residents I've spoken to is to ensure that they put their submission in and follow up their neighbours to do the same. I will be making a submission," he said.