Message from the Minsiter:
As councils continue to face the challenges of raising the revenue needed to provide for their local communities, and households face increasing costs of living, the Government is committed to ensuring a fair and equitable rating system.
In June the Government released its final response to IPART’s review of the rating system, committing to implementing key reforms to ensure councils have a stable and reliable revenue base so they can plan and deliver services for their communities into the future.
The Government is currently preparing a Bill to give effect to each element of its response.
The Bill will provide greater flexibility for councils in managing the overall rating burden within their community.
It will assist new councils created in 2016 by allowing them to gradually harmonise rates.
We are also proposing to give councils greater flexibility through the creation of rating subcategories for residential, farmland and business as well as a new category for environmental land.
It is my intention to release an Exposure Draft of the Bill before the end of the year to obtain essential feedback from councils, local communities and other interested individuals and organisations.
It is planned to introduce legislation into the NSW Parliament early next year.
The Government is also standing by our commitment to align rating income growth with population growth to help councils provide for growing communities and protect residents from excessive or sudden rate rises.
We will issue terms of reference to IPART to develop a methodology – in consultation with the local government sector – for population growth to be taken into account when it sets the annual rate peg to provide relief for those councils suffering growing pains.
Some councils, particularly in Sydney’s growth corridors, have faced a substantial increase in population while their rating bases have come under significant pressure with higher demand for new or upgraded local infrastructure and services.
That’s why the Government will ask the independent regulator to develop a model for ensuring population growth is taken into account in setting the annual rate peg.