This week has been a big week in local news, there are plenty of stories to catch up on if you’ve missed out on these. Please follow the links in the headlines through to the full stories on News websites.
THE city’s leaders have banded together in disgust over a lack of development contributions earmarked for the proposed fourth coal terminal in Newcastle. The T4 coal terminal is yet to be approved but has reached a number of planning milestones and is with the Planning Assessment Commission. More here.
A COUPLE of pen strokes from state bureaucrats could short-change Newcastle’s cash-strapped ratepayers by as much as $48million. When the Department of Planning last week ticked off on the T4 coal loader plan, hidden in the detail was a deal on Section 94 contributions – the fees levied on developers so councils can provide community infrastructure such as parks and roads. More here.
Concerns have been flagged that Newcastle may be short-changed out of millions of dollars in developer contributions from a proposed new coal terminal development. More here.
A war is raging over the economic benefits of Newcastle’s proposed fourth coal terminal. Council says it’s being shortchanged by a state recommendation, that it should only pocket half a million dollars in levies, from the multi-billion dollar project. More here.
NEWCASTLE council maintains the city was dudded. A ‘‘gobsmacked’’ Newcastle MP Tim Owen agreed, saying a new round of negotiations was the only way to turn things around. More here.
IT’S the $64 million windfall that Newcastle’s ratepayers never got. Following news this week the city will likely get only a small percentage of the $48 million it could have expected from the fourth coal-loader project, it can be revealed it’s not the first time ratepayers have been left short by an erratic and confusing planning system.
Additionally, the discounts given to developers by the state bureaucrats appear erratic and follow no formula or policy. Newcastle Greens councillor and a critic of the fourth coal terminal Michael Osborne said that’s where the problem lies.
“If the Department of Planning is going to determine what developers pay to the community, you’d think they’d have a policy, but they don’t,” he said.
“They’re all over the shop with their recommendations and there is no transparency, no logic and no consistency. I think they just pull a figure out of the air.” More here.
Newcastle residents are concerned about the over-development of two parcels of land, owned by Newcastle council. A development application for the site in Laman Street is now in the hands of an independent assessor, but it still has Greens councillors asking questions. More here.