Saturday, 26 November 2016

Value Capture

Value Capture
 Jamie Briggs, then Federal Minister for Cities and Built Environment, went to Hong Kong to study it – got distracted and lost his portfolio; Premier Mike Baird was leading that 2015 delegation, thinking that maybe an HK outfit (a mostly Government owned one) could help build a Sydney rail line or two. The Turnbulls, Lucy and Mal, are/have been keen advocates. 
So what is value capture?
When a piece of useful infrastructure is built, the land and properties serviced by it appreciate in value; value capture is when the builder of that infrastructure recoups some or all of that appreciation  in value of nearby land/property instead of it flowing into the pockets of the land owners.
It is not a new idea having been used to part fund the building of Sydney Harbour Bridge but was give a great boost when HM Treasury in the UK reported that the new Jubilee London Underground line had cost £3.5bn to build and surrounding land values had increased by £13.5bn; the report was titled, ‘Taken for a ride’.  
Value capture has been mostly used for mass transit systems, eg Melbourne City Loop and Chatswood Station in Sydney and has been a matter of trading some development rights in return for the infrastructure. If rail lines, why not rock walls?
If we are forced into building and maintaining a rock wall at Belongil, then the concept of Value Capture could well sharpen the minds of our Council – staff and elected – as to how to fund the infrastructure, who benefits and who loses out and at what cost. Value Capture does entail a most thorough examination of any proposal including all the legal aspects and time lines.
The community must however remain on ‘full alert’; it is too easy for public bodies, Councils and the like, to yield that which is not theirs to give, not to drive hard bargains on our behalf. Lest we be ‘Taken for a ride’.

Colin Cook,
3 Bannister Court,
Bangalow, NSW 2479.
PS: There is very well researched and referenced Australian Government Information Sheet at

NOTE. This was the substance of a letter to there Byron Shire ECHO when the construction of a rock wall on the beach was being debated to directly protect a few residential properties threatened by beach erosion.

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