What is a paper subdivision?

A paper subdivision is the term used to describe land parcels that are recognised on paper only. In most cases, they have no formed roads, drainage, reticulated water, sewer or electricity (what we term as infrastructure in this FAQ). Many subdivisions originated in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Paper subdivisions are known to exist in various parts across NSW including a number in Lake Macquarie City.

The land subject to this investigation within Deposited Plan 4339, known as the Killingworth Paper Subdivision, was created in 1901 and consists of 24 lots. There are approximately 10 landowners within the subdivision.


Who is responsible for developing the land?

In new subdivisions, the developer builds the roads, drains, and provides electrical supply, water and sewer infrastructure prior to the sale of allotments. The cost of this infrastructure is reflected in the sale price of the land.

The Killingworth Paper Subdivision was created under old legislation that did not require this infrastructure to be provided by the developer. Any future development costs associated with land will need to be met by landowners.


What services and provisions are required for development of the subdivision to occur?

Services and provisions required include:

  • Roads,  where required (waste services commence on completion of road access) 

  • Water and Wastewater (sewer)

  • Drainage

  • Electricity and communications, where required

  • Vegetation clearing (for roads)


Will service connections occur?

Service connection can only occur if there is significant interest and then an agreement on funding by landowners. The water and sewer works need to be substantially commenced before June 2023, otherwise the Water and Wastewater Servicing Strategy approval from Hunter Water will lapse and need to be reviewed.

If the Hunter Water Corporation approval lapses, what will this mean for the project?

If the approval lapses, the Hunter Water Corporation will need to review the Strategy and may request further investigations prior to issuing a further approval. This may take a further two years to complete before any future development works can progress for the subdivision.

Please note: the current approval is valid until June 2023, however substantial water and sewer works are to be underway before this date to avoid requiring further approval.

How much will infrastructure cost?

This will vary between landowners as each property has different servicing requirements i.e. not all properties require connection to electricity or construction of road. While Council has obtained a preliminary cost estimate for the required infrastructure, further detailed studies and engineering design work for roads and all essential infrastructure is required.  This will allow us to get accurate overall development costs and calculate the contribution for each lot (which will vary depending on lot size, access to existing infrastructure etc.).

If there is interest from landowners to progress the project for development, will Council explore options for landowners to contribute to infrastructure funding?

Yes. If the landowners are interested in development of the Killingworth Paper Subdivision, Council and landowners will explore additional funding options to enable as many landowners as possible to participate in development of the Killingworth Paper Subdivision.

Why can’t landowners choose to go “off-grid”, for example with solar panels, rainwater tanks and on-site sewage systems?

If the subdivision is fully developed, the density of development would mean it would not be  practical for each property to arrange its own infrastructure. On-site sewage management is not generally viable on lots smaller than 1000m2, and some properties do not have access to formed roads and drainage, which are not cost effective to construct on a piecemeal basis.

Why do landowners have to pay rates on land that isn't developed?

Rates are the way our community contributes to funding services across the City, from libraries and parks to tourism and swimming pools.

The Local Government Act 1993 identifies which land rates can be charged on. Council is required to levy rates for properties identified in the Act, regardless of their development potential. The amount of rates payable is linked to the unimproved value of the land as determined by the NSW Valuer General.


What is the Paper Subdivisions Legislation?

The Paper Subdivisions Legislation refers to Schedule 5 to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979, which was introduced by the NSW Government in 2003. It contains provisions that, along with Part 16C of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, establish a mechanism to overcome barriers to realise the development potential of paper subdivisions.

If there is significant interest from landowners in developing the Killingworth Paper Subdivision, landowners and Council will work together to prepare a Development Plan. Preparation of a Development Plan is the first major step in use of the Paper Subdivisions Legislation. 

A Development Plan must contain the following information:

  • A proposed plan of subdivision
  • Details of subdivision works to be undertaken for the land
  • Details of the costs of the subdivision works and the proposed means of funding those works
  • Details of the Development Plan costs
  • Details of the proportion of costs to be borne by the owners of the land and of the manner in which the owners may meet those costs
  • Rules as to the form of compensation for land that is compulsorily acquired and how entitlement to compensation is to be calculated
  • Rules as to the distribution of any surplus funds after the completion of subdivision works for the land
  • A description of the proposed stages of development (if the development is to be staged); and
  • A proposed timetable for the subdivision of the land and the carrying out of subdivision works.

In order for development to go ahead, the legislation provides that at ballot must be held in which at least 60 per cent of landowners, and the owners of at least 60 per cent of the land area of the paper subdivision, must vote in support of a Development Plan.


What is a Development Plan and who prepares it?

The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure provides legislation to assist with the development of paper subdivisions such as at Killingworth. Under the provisions, a relevant authority, possibly Council or another government agency like Landcom (now known as Urban Growth NSW), may prepare a Development Plan that details the required subdivision works, the cost and proposed funding method for those works.

Importantly, at least 60 per cent of the total number of landowners and owners of at least 60 per cent of the total area of the land covered by the proposed Development Plan must agree to the plan in order for it to proceed.

Preparation of a Development Plan is the first major step in use of the Paper Subdivisions Legislation. 

A Development Plan must contain the following information:

  • A proposed plan of subdivision
  • Details of subdivision works to be undertaken for the land
  • Details of the costs of the subdivision works and the proposed means of funding those works
  • Details of the Development Plan costs
  • Details of the proportion of costs to be borne by the owners of the land and of the manner in which the owners may meet those costs
  • Rules as to the form of compensation for land that is compulsorily acquired and how entitlement to compensation is to be calculated
  • Rules as to the distribution of any surplus funds after the completion of subdivision works for the land
  • A description of the proposed stages of development (if the development is to be staged); and
  • A proposed timetable for the subdivision of the land and the carrying out of subdivision works.


What are the next steps for the project?

Council will be in contact with landowners over the coming months to determine the level of interest in developing the Killingworth Paper Subdivision.

During this time, letters will be sent out with an invitation to meet or connect with Council officers to discuss each landowner’s vision for their land and any involvement they would like to have in the process to progress the project should that be the consensus at this time.

The level of landowner interest to develop the Subdivision will determine whether any further action is taken for the project in the near future.


Who can I contact at Council to discuss the project further?

Samantha Hardie – Strategic Landuse Planner

Email: shardie@lakemac.nsw.gov.au or phone: 4921 0492

Andrejs Rubenis – Land Development Officer

Email: arubenis@lakemac.nsw.gov.au or phone: 4921 0026

Karen Marples – Engagement Officer

Email: kmarples@lakemac.nsw.gov.auor phone: 4921 0326


Where can I find further information?

It is important to note that each paper subdivision is different. If the Killingworth Paper Subdivision progresses, it will require its own unique development plan.