Regional Infrastructure Projects Update - August 2014

By: Regional Infrastructure Projects Coordinator, Steven Cosatto...

Regional Asset Management Group (RAMG)

For those who may be unaware there is a newly released statutory guideline 03/14 entitled "A Guideline for the Preparation of Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP)" under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA).  Under the SPA all local governments were previously required to include a Priority Infrastructure Plan (PIP) in their planning schemes.  With the introduction of the Sustainable Planning (Infrastructure Charges) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (SPICOLA 2014), local governments are now required to include a Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP) instead of a PIP.

An LGIP is that part of a planning scheme which identifies the local government's plans for trunk infrastructure which are necessary to service urban development at the desired standard of service in a coordinated, efficient and financially sustainable manner.

A grace period from 4 July 2014 to 30 June 2016 has been included in the legislation, during which time a local government planning scheme is not required to include a LGIP.  However, local governments which do not have a PIP/LGIP or plans for trunk infrastructure attached to their resolutions will continue to have limited conditioning powers.

Local governments which do not intend to levy infrastructure charges or impose conditions for trunk infrastructure do not need to include an LGIP in their planning schemes.

Under the SPA any local government which wishes to levy infrastructure charges or impose conditions about trunk infrastructure from 1 July 2016, will not be able to do so unless its planning schemes includes an LGIP which was in place by 30 June 2016 and complies with the requirements of this guideline.  Some key points raised with regard to asset management include:

• Within the guidelines, reference is made to 2.4 Financial Sustainability and Local Government Infrastructure Plans.  Ultimately, a local government must be able to demonstrate how it will fund the trunk infrastructure identified in its LGIP.  To demonstrate this, a local government's LGIP should align with its Asset Management Plans (AMP's) and the long term financial forecast.

• The LGIP template includes a requirement for councils to identify desired standards of service for water supply, sewerage, stormwater, transport and public parks and land for community facilities as well as a schedule of works.

• Schedule of works model and in particular the considerations for review of the value of future trunk infrastructure – direct costs, indirect costs, margin and project owner costs.  Project owner costs also have margins associated which you need to be between.

• Item 46 "is there alignment of the scope, estimated cost and planned timing of proposed trunk capital works and the relevant inputs of the Long Term Asset Management Plans (LTAMP) and LTFF? If not, what is the process underway to achieve this." – this last section does give councils some breathing space however the integration of these plans is now more prominent.

To assist councils in understanding the new landscape of regulations about the format of the planning documents, condition setting ability, Infrastructure Agreements and wider appeal rights, FNQROC has facilitated an information session on Tuesday 5 August 2014.  The information session will be run in conjunction with an organisation called Integran and supported by LGAQ. Whilst there is obviously a commercial interest with Integran running this workshop, I believe council staff will get some benefit and at this stage there are no alternative information sessions.

  • Date Claimer: Information Session - "A Guideline for the Preparation of LGIP" - Tuesday 5 August 2014.
  • Date Claimer: Regional Asset Management Group meeting - Monday 20 October 2014.

Regional Waste Management Group (RWMG)

Cairns Regional Council (CRC) has begun the review process of its current Waste Management Strategy (due for completion June 2015).  Although CCRC completed its strategy last year and TRC/MSC do not have to review theirs until 2016 for a 2017 deadline, as a group we have agreed we should utilise CRC's process to take a snap shot of where the region is currently positioned regarding items such as:

• Waste Infrastructure

• Local / External Drivers (legislation)

• Community Engagement

• Contracts

• Recycling.

At the very least this process will allow us to review our options regionally and aid councils in long term planning.

When you consider the investment required by councils and private industry, there is no quick fix to councils Waste Management issues.  The group has acknowledged the need to act regionally and to think long term.  An example of why a long term view is required is the kerbside collection arrangement, for industry to consider investment into an area, industry would prefer a seven year arrangement as that is the expected life span of the trucks used.  Naturally councils would also achieve economies of scale should we utilise our collective quantities, however we first need to align our current arrangements.

Date claimer: RWMG next meeting: Friday 15 August 2014 9.30pm to 1.30pm (Cairns).  The venue for the meeting has been changed to CRC Material Recycling Facility (MRF).