The Peninsula’s seven developer contribution plans are now displayed on Central Coast Council’s website, following an audit of the council by the NSW Auditor-General.
However, the Peninsula’s seven plans are likely to be superseded when the Council’s 54 developer contribution plans will be joined in a new consolidated contributions plan expected to be ready around the middle of next year, according to the audit report.
Councils collect local infrastructure contributions from developers to fund infrastructure required to service and support new development, according to the Auditor-General’s report.
The audit found the council was in breach of developer contribution plan provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act as recently as last year.
“Central Coast Council breached the EP and A Act between 2001 and 2019 when it used local infrastructure contributions for administration costs,” the audit concluded.
The audit found that the council used the contributions collected to pay for administration expenses under contributions plans.
“Administration expenses were paid using funds collected under 40 contributions plans inherited from Gosford City Council which had no allowance for administration.
“Following amalgamation in 2016, this practice continued until 2019 under Central Coast Council.
“The Council made an adjustment of $13.2 million in the 2018-19 financial statements to reimburse the contributions fund from the general council fund.
“This adjustment includes interest foregone since 2001.
“These funds were repaid in late 2019.”
The council has agreed to an Auditor-General recommendation to “obtain independent validation of the adjustment made to the restricted asset accounts and general fund to repay contributions spent on administration, and adjustments made to each infrastructure category within the contribution plans”.
The audit report said that developer contributions “can represent a significant source of council’s annual revenue and cash balance”.
In Central Coast Council’s case, cash contributions amounted to 36 per cent of cash or cash-equivalent funds.
Central Coast Council chief executive Mr Gary Murphy wrote to the auditor in April accepting all the audit’s recommendations but asked that the December deadline to be pushed back a year.
The Peninsula’s contribution plans include three for car parking: plan 67 for Woy Woy, plan 68 for Umina and plan 72 for Ettalong.
The Peninsula’s other four contribution plans are: plan 31A Drainage, plan 31B Roadworks, plan 31C Open Space and Recreation and plan 31D Community Facilities and Services.
Media release, 17 Aug 2020
Margaret Crawford, NSW Auditor General