Converting Non-Trunk Infrastructure to Trunk Infrastructure
By Andrew Ngo
We previously wrote about the conversion application process and how to obtain the infrastructure credits that you are entitled to on your projects. Our previous article can be found in the link below.
To recap, a conversion application is an application that developers can make under the Planning Act 2016 (Section 139) to convert ‘non-trunk infrastructure to trunk infrastructure’.
The key is to understand the conversion criteria for the relevant jurisdiction where your project is located and to start the process early. Unfortunately, we have seen some examples out there where this has not been identified at the right time (or at all). This makes it nearly impossible for those legitimate credits to be clawed back. On the flip side, we have been working closely with clients, planners and authorities on several conversion applications across SEQ with a high degree of success. In some cases, $100K to $1M+ in credits will be realised. This often means the difference between a project working and not working. Below are some examples:
Examples 1 – Trunk Roadworks Example
- Three separate projects where road intersection upgrade works and associated road widening where initially considered non-trunk by the Authority.
- Works were reviewed and representations made prior at the Development Approval stage.
- The Authority conditioned the works as non-trunk in the Development Approval.
- A conversion application was lodged with supporting information under the relevant conversion criteria to the Authority.
- Negotiations were undertaken in collaboration with the Authority and agreement was reached on the extent of trunk works.
- A minor change to the Development Approval was approved with amended conditions confirming and including the extent of trunk works.
- Infrastructure Charges Notices were updated to identify $300k+ of credits for the projects which would otherwise have been $0.
- Further representations will be made whereby actual credits obtained will be based on actual works completed.
There are other such instances where infrastructure was initially identified as non-trunk but have since been negotiated as trunk with the Authority. Again, this has been achieved through assessing the relevant standards and getting on the front foot. In those instances, conversation applications were not required but the conversion criteria was used to support our request for creditable works. The Authority was willing to co-ordinate this through an Infrastructure Agreement in lieu of a conversion application.
Example 2 – Trunk Sewer Example
- A sewer pump station was required to service the development site.
- A site wide catchment analysis was undertaken to demonstrate that the pump station could be sized to service the greater catchment.
- The conversion criteria was reviewed under the Authority standard and identified that the sewer flow rates and network sizing for the catchment met the conversion criteria.
- An Infrastructure Agreement was drafted in lieu of conversion application and is about to be executed for $2.5M+.
Example 3 – Trunk Water Example
- A water reservoir and distribution main was required to service the development site.
- It was determined that the water reservoir could be sized to service the greater catchment and provides security of supply for the wider region/network.
- The conversion criteria was reviewed under the Authority standard and were met for this infrastructure.
- An Infrastructure Agreement was prepared in lieu of a conversion application for $3M+
As you can see in these real examples, it pays to:
- Know and understand what you are reasonably entitled to;
- Identify the opportunity early; and
- Persist and work with the Authorities to reach an agreement.