Planning Reform Update – Fees and Charges
On 16 July 2020, the State Government released new and updated fees and charges associated with the PDI Act and its regulations. In this article, we explore the new and revised fees which have been created, and the entities to whom those fees will be paid.
These new and updated fees were created via variations to the Planning Development and Infrastructure (Fees, Charges and Contributions) Regulations 2019 (Fee Regulations). The variation regulations can be found here.
New and revised fees
Fees payable under the PDI Act and its regulations are set out in Schedule 1 of the Fee Regulations. The recent variations have increased many of these fees. Some fees have also been simplified. Key fees to note include:
- Hard copy processing fee for lodging a planning or building consent application over the counter – $80
- Fee to apply to the relevant Assessment Panel to review a decision for which the Assessment Manager was the relevant authority – $511
- Minor variation application fee – $127
- Compliance (inspection) fees:
- For a Class 1 building or a swimming pool – $240
- For a Class 10 building (if the total development is greater than $10,000) – $80
- For any other class of building – the greater of $240 or 0.075% of the total development cost up to a maximum of $2 500
- Application fee (building consent) for demolition – $145
- Increases in the fees for planning, building and land division applications
- The removal of a set fee in Schedule 1 for referral bodies. This will instead be governed by a scheme established by the Chief Executive (Regulation 18 of the Fee Regulations), although commentary from DPTI (as it then was) identifies this fee as $398 in most cases (with some variations for EPA, Native Vegetation, SAHT and the Technical Regulator).
Councils to receive development assessment fees
Amendments to the Fee Regulations now provide that the portion of fees payable to the relevant authority will be paid to the council in whose area the development will be undertaken.
Prior to these changes, the Fee Regulations provided that where the relevant authority for development assessment was an assessment panel, the relevant fees were payable to that panel, not to the council in whose area the development was proposed to be undertaken.
This was considered problematic by many in the Local Government sector, not least because the council in whose area a development is proposed to be undertaken is responsible for the costs and liabilities of its panel (see Sections 83(1)(h) and 84(1)(i) of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016) .
This issue has now been rectified, by new Regulation 3B in the Fee Regulations. This provides that where a panel is appointed by a joint planning board or a council, the relevant fees will be payable to the council in whose area the development is proposed to be undertaken, and that where a panel is appointed by the Minister (i.e. a RAP), the fees will be payable to an “entity designated by the Chief Executive”. This will be as agreed by the councils constituting the RAP at the time of its creation – which will typically be that fees will be paid to the council in whose area the development will be undertaken.
This is considered to be good outcome, as it continues the current system whereby fees associated with development assessment are paid to councils, as the bodies who will continue to fund the carrying out of development assessment.
Councils to set costs for placing signs on land
While most fees are prescribed by the Fee Regulations, the fee payable to a council to erect a public notification sign on land is absent. This is because Practice Direction 3 now provides that each council may set its own fee for this activity (which must not be more than a fee appropriate to cover its reasonable costs).
We have assisted the LGA in developing guidance for councils in setting this fee. That advice is available to all LGA members via the LGA website.
Regulation 18 of the Fee Regulations provides that fees associated with development assessment will be distributed in accordance with a scheme established by the Chief Executive. It goes on to provide that this distribution scheme extends to a fee that has been waived by a relevant authority.
We encourage all relevant authorities (and all Council staff with delegated authority to waive fees) to ensure that they are either only waiving those portions of fees which will be distributed to the council with which they are associated, or that they have the agreement of the person or body to whom the fee is to be distributed to grant the waiver.
For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article please contact Joanna Clare on +61 8 8217 1368 or JClare@normans.com.au.