Community welcome to view IPART submission

23 November 2016

AlburyCity is inviting residents to view its response to a State Government draft report on a review of the Local Government Rating System.

The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) invited all councils and communities in NSW to provide input into the draft report before being presented to the State Government next month.

AlburyCity is concerned that recent media reports have not covered all the issues which has led to some concern among local residents.

Mayor Kevin Mack says it’s important that residents have the full picture and that they understand that any changes to the rating system in NSW will be made at a State Government level.

He says the key points made in AlburyCity’s submission are that:

  • Council should be able to choose the valuation method it considers is most appropriate for its community, as occurs in other states.
  • Council supports the proposal by IPART that councils have more options when setting differential rates within rating categories.
  • Council supports the proposal by IPART that land be exempt from rates on the basis of use rather than ownership, and that land used for residential or commercial purposes is rateable unless explicitly exempted. Properties should not be exempt from rates when the land use is a commercial activity, competes with the private sector or exemption would not provide sufficient public benefits to the local community.
  • Council supported the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s recommendation that social welfare should not be a local government responsibility. Pensioner rate concessions should be wholly funded by the State Government as occurs in all other states. The proposed rate deferral scheme (suggested to replace pensioner rate concessions)  has merit with respect to asset rich and cash poor pensioners, providing that it is wholly funded by the State Government. If the State Government chooses to retain a pensioner rate concession the amount should be indexed in line with the rate peg.
  • Eligible pensioners should be allowed to defer payment of rates up to the amount of the current pensioner concession, or any other amount as determined by the State Government.
  • AlburyCity will continue to advocate to the State Government that changes to the local government ratings system that have the support of the local government sector be given a high priority.  

Cr Mack says he’d encourage anyone with an interest in the matter to read AlburyCity’s submission or contact Council’s General Manager Frank Zaknich for any further clarification or questions that residents may have.