_Spending GAIC Funds

The first UDIA industry lunch of the year was well attended.  Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, who is responsible for two portfolios (Suburban Development and Energy, Environment and Climate Change), was the guest speaker.

Other than a few awards that were presented for Environmentally Sustainable Developments, the focus of the presentation centered on her Suburban Development portfolio and specifically the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC).

With a sizeable bankroll of funds, suggested to be around $170 million, having been accrued through GAIC and yet to be spent, the Minister announced that criteria for GAIC funded projects will be introduced in the coming days.  The purpose of the criteria is to provide guidance to State and Local Government departments so that they can identify the types of projects that are suitable for GAIC funding.

Given the consolidated GAIC funds (since it was first introduced in 2010), the delay in introducing criteria seems like an opportunity lost – so far.  Earlier utilisation would have provided more transparency and developers would have been aware of the types of projects that they are contributing towards.

Notwithstanding a slow start, some funding has been allocated for projects with the recent $1.7 million grant for Merri Creek Park improvement works, including a new bridge crossing over Merri Creek, tabled as an example by the Minister.

A key challenge will be for the Minister to work with State and Local Government bodies to identify funding for the delivery of projects that are a priority, rather than being bombarded with a wish list of infrastructure projects.

We welcome the introduction of this criteria and consider it an important step in facilitating the delivery of schools, community facilities, open space improvements and other large infrastructure projects that are much needed in growth areas and will assist with generating employment.

Enquires to James Million (jjm@colliepl.com.au)