The great NSW LNP “garage sale” continues with news that the state government plans to continue its “asset recycling” program by flogging off land in South Western Sydney to undertake new capital works.
According to Mr Baird’s economic neo-liberal “religious” beliefs there is a limit to the assets that can be owned by the public and once that ceiling has been reached, when a new asset is required an existing asset must be sold.
Yes – as nutty as it sounds.
Even nuttier is the idea that open land close to existing and extensive future residential areas in South Western Sydney is somehow “excess to requirements”. With the likes of Mr Baird roaming parliament in earlier times Centennial Park and many of the large urban parklands and state and national parks would be buried under concrete as “excess to requirements”.
If Mr Baird wishes to build new infrastructure and assets, and that is definitely something that should keep him out of mischief, he needs to show some leadership and explain to the current generation that they need to contribute to their construction and not simplify pilfer from the stock of assets paid for by previous generations.
A State Infrastructure Contribution “SIC” is the fairest way to do so and it should be introduced immediately as an additional levy on the quarterly council rate notices. The Local Council can collect the SIC and remit it to State Treasury.
The features of the SIC will be simple and as follows:
- Like rates it will be levied by reference to the unimproved value of the land.
- It will apply to all land including owner occupied housing.
- It will only apply to land above a threshold value per meter. That will protect very low value land – which is usually owned by low income people.
- The value threshold will be indexed to CPI or some other suitable measure.
- To protect those who have retired and have limited incomes any SIC that is due on land they own may accrue as a charge against the title of land and will be recovered on disposal of the asset (i.e from the estate of the owner)
- It will initially be a very small charge – approx $150 per quarter for the average home owner of land above the threshold.
- The total amount raised across the state and by regional will be published along with the assets constructed with it so that the land owners paying the SIC can see the benefits.
- If Mr Baird or later leaders wish to build more assets than the current SIC can fund they can then make a clear argument to the public – if you want more worthwhile assets like better roads, better public transport, better hospitals, more parks etc the SIC may need to rise to pay for them.
- As infrastructure assets like better roads and better schools etc add to the value of land the SIC levied will rise, thereby creating a direct link between the value created by new public assets and the SIC payments made by the owners of land that benefits.
Mr Foley and the Greens are sure to support the measure as both of those parties will be keen to support an increase in the stock of public assets in a way that is fair and reasonable and paid for largely by the owners of the land that will benefit from them.
Mr Baird, if you wish to be remembered as a leader and a builder you need to do more than promise that the people of Sydney can get something for nothing by living off the sale of assets built by earlier generations.
If you don’t – just like the Cheshire Cat you will be remembered for little more than your lovely smile.