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There’s been a mixed reaction to news that Parramatta property owners could be slugged an annual $110 levy for almost 30 years to help fund Parramatta light rail.
The Sydney Morning Herald earlier this week revealed the proposal that was part of a 2015 Parramatta Council commissioned report by consultant AECOM, which outlined a $1.6 billion "value sharing" model to exploit increases in property values from the arrival of stage one of the $3.4 billion light rail.
A "special levy" of $110 a year would be placed on residential and commercial development within 800 metres of rail stops and a three per cent land tax on the value of properties in those areas.
The model envisages the measures would be in place from 2020 until 2048 and raise between $1.36 billion and $1.66 billion.
“Another great big new tax from the Berejiklian government,” Granville MP Julia Finn said.
“It is just another slap in the face for western Sydney people who already deal with congested trains, massive new tolls on an old road and now a $110 levy. It is outrageous that the people of Parramatta are being singled out to pay for light rail, unlike the eastern suburbs.”
But Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue chairman Christopher Brown is supportive of measures that ensure those that directly benefit from major infrastructure projects such as Parramatta Light Rail, help subsidise the cost to taxpayers.
He believes the days of the government being solely responsible for the funding of major projects were over.
“The Parramatta Light Rail was always framed as the test case for how a value-sharing model could be applied, and a large part of why this project has progressed from a concept, to a reality, is because of the willingness of the western Sydney landowners and private sector, who are happy to ‘pay to play’,” Mr Brown said.
“The NSW government, in particular the Transport Minister Andrew Constance, along with the City Of Parramatta, should be congratulated on embracing innovative, inclusive and sustainable funding methods.” These models should be applied to all of Sydney’s major projects, if we’re serious about getting on with the job of building NSW.”
This article first appeared on www.parramattasun.com.au
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