Perth councillors approve transport strategy


The sky is the limit when it comes to land value capture. Pictures: by Giovanni Torre
The sky is the limit when it comes to land value capture. Pictures: by Giovanni Torre

PERTH council approved a transport strategy on Tuesday evening, despite not having a full picture of the land value capture opportunities in the City that could be used to fund transport infrastructure.

Land value capture involves using currently un-used or under-used government-owned land in order to contribute financially to project development.

Dedicating the land to a project – and changing its zoning to increase its value – can save significant amounts of public funds.

One famous example of land value capture was the old New York central rail yard accommodating high-rise buildings after electric rail was used to sink the lines in 1906-07.

The above-ground “air rights” over the subterranean tracks and platforms covered several blocks of prime Manhattan real estate.

The resulting windfall meant that not one dollar of public revenue was spent on the development of Grand Central Station.

On October 4, councillr Jemma Green asked “information on potential land value capture opportunities in the city, specifically what land parcels on Wellington and Plain streets may present “up-zoning” opportunities that could be considered by the City of Perth”.

The request related to the full length of Wellington and Plain streets, specifically “the potential for developing public transport such as light rail through the city”.

An interim report was represented to councillors on Tuesday with the full report not expected until the New Year.

“We are expected to vote on a transport strategy without a full picture of the land value capture opportunities in the City,” Cr Green said.

Cr Reece Harley described the interim report as “flimsy” and “two pages… flung” at council.

In November the Federal Government released the discussion paper ‘Using Value Capture to help Deliver Major Land Transport Infrastructure – roles for the Australian Government’.

The paper explored partnerships between local, State and Federal governments to more effectively fund transport projects and urban development.

Cr Green expressed concern that while other local governments were already well advanced in their pursuit of land value capture, Perth “don’t even have a concept”.