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Your rates explained: Q&A

Questions and Answers regarding commonly asked queries to do with Council Rates and payments

Please click on the question links below to view the answers


Councils help local communities run smoothly. They administer various laws and regulations to help maintain and improve services and facilities for the community. These services include community services, sporting and recreation services, road repairs, environmental planning, public health, environmental protection, waste collection, treatment and disposal, water & sewer.


Component Detail
Residential rate (also known as the General rate). This is based on the value of the land (ad valorem rate) so this will be different for each property
Base amount This is a flat fee according to your rate zone i.e. Residential, Residential Other, Business (CBD + Other), Farmland or Mining
Environmental base amount 

A set fee that applies to all properties - the income is used for various environmental project such as:

  • Rehabilitation of existing green belt areas
  • General support for Landcare, Clean Up Australia and Stream Watch programmes
  • Development of vegetation mapping to allow for better assessment of environmental issues and planning
  • Prevention of acid sulphates
Stormwater charge A set fee that is levied on any property located within an urban area (city, town or village) that is rated residential or business. It was introduced by the NSW Government in 2006 to enable Council to increase the level of stormwater management services.
Waste water availability A set fee for the provision and maintenance of sewer facilities. If there are 2 or more residences on a property, such as granny flats or units that are not strata, then customers will also be charged waste water and this will appear on their water bill
On-site sewage (Septic) Management fee A set fee (approved to operate) for the annual renewal of an approval to operate a sewage management facility 
Waste Management Service

Provision of domestic waste collection service (red, yellow and green bins). This fee is determined by the size and frequency of the red bin. If no bin services are utilised, and a domestic collection service is available to the property, the minimum charge will apply  as per fees and charges.

Each Council is required to determine the combination of rates, charges, fees and pricing policies needed to fund the services it provides to the community, this is called a revenue policy. Each year Council can only raise certain rates by a rate peg percentage. This percentage is determined by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). Rates & Charges for Waste Management, Water, Sewerage and Stormwater are not subject to rate pegging.

The revenue policy contains a rating structure that determines which rates and charges you will have to pay and how they will be calculated.

Yes.  Rate pegging applies to a Council’s overall general income and not to rates on individual properties.  Within rate pegging it is possible for some rates to increase by more than the rate peg limit while other may increase by less than the rate peg limit.  A Councils rating structure and valuation charges are the main factors that will determine what happens to rates on an individual property.  Rating structures may change significantly from year to year.

Yes. Council can apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to increase their general income by more than the rate peg by applying for a Special Variation.  Council must submit an application which include details of its intention to apply for a special variation in its draft management plan and consider any submissions received from the public.  If approved IPART will specify the percentage by which the Council may increase its general income.

Each parcel of land must be included in one of four categories for rating purposes - residential, business, farmland or mining.  Council decides which category your property should be in based on its characteristics and use.

If you are not satisfied with the category given to your property, you may apply to Council for the category to be reviewed.  If you do this, council must notify you of their decision and the reasons for that decision.  If you still do not agree with the category given to your property, you may appeal to the Land and Environment Court within 30 days of receiving council’s review.

Councils do not determine your land value for rating purposes.  All land within NSW is valued by the Valuer General under the Valuation of Land Act 1916 (as amended).  These valuations are carried out approximately every three years and you will receive a valuation notice when new land values are being sent to Council. If you do not agree with the land value you have 60 days to object.  The Land and Property Information Division will give you a objection kit by calling 1800 110 038 or you can download a kit at http://www.lpi.nsw.gov.au

Yes.  Concessions are available for eligible pensioners.  To be an eligible pensioner you must receive a blue pensioner concession card issued by Centrelink or be entitled to a gold card titled Totally & Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) or Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA)  from Veterans Affairs.  War widows who have a gold card and do not have a pensioner concession card must complete a means test to determine eligibility.

You will need to complete a pensioner concession application form which can be obtained from your Council or online however Council must sight your pensioner concession card on application and will take a copy of the card for records.

  • Half of the total of your ordinary rates and domestic waste management service charge, up to a maximum of $250.00.
  • Half of your water rates or charges, up to a maximum of $87.50.
  • Half of your sewerage rates or charges, up to a maximum of $87.50.

No.  The amounts are fixed.

Although expanding the current concession may be desirable, the cost of providing mandatory concessions is met by both state and local government.  Any increase in the existing limits would increase the cost of the scheme and may have an adverse impact on the services that councils provide to the community.  There are currently no plans to review the concessions.

You should contact Council’s Debt Recovery team as soon as possible so that Council can discuss other options that may be available to help you. 

This page was last updated on: 07 January 2019