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New rates 2021
Georges River Council resolved, at its February 2021 Extraordinary Council meeting, to apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a staged increase to the total rates that Council can collect.

IPART is expected to make its determination in May 2021.
 

Learn more about IPART - Special Variations

Make a submission directly with IPART about Georges River Council’s application by visiting IPART - Special Variations & Minimum Rates 2021-22


The application lodged with IPART is seeking approval for an increase to the total rate income (Special Variation) and a new minimum rate for Georges River as part of the harmonisation of  the previous rating systems of Hurstville and Kogarah Councils.
 
The former Hurstville Council had a rate variation in place that expires on June 30 this year. The Special Rate application Council submitted to IPART seeks to maintain the current rate income for Council for the first year with only a slight increase for CPI and then a gradual increase to the total rate income the Council can collect  over the following four years.
 
Council is awaiting the outcome of IPART’s assessment of our application for a rate increase. If it is not approved by IPART or applied in future years, services will need to be reduced or ceased.
 
Community consultation over the last two years reinforced that the community expects a far more equitable and fair rating system and how important the services provided by the Council are to the community. When the community was asked what could be reduced or ceased there was no clear choice and it was apparent the diverse range of services offered by Council are all valued in the community.


Council's proposed new rating system from 1 July 2021 seeks to:

  • meet the mandatory NSW Government requirement for one rating system across the Georges River local government area

  • create better equity between houses and apartments

  • maintain the service standards you value for future generations.

As highlighted in the Amalgamation Journey Report, Council continues to be committed to reducing the burden on our ratepayers by finding savings and efficiencies in all our activities. The planned changes described in this update were developed after comprehensive community consultation in 2019. The total amount of money that can be collected in rates by a council is set by the NSW Government and any changes need the Minister's approval. Before we seek approval we want to explain the proposal and let you know what it means for you.

 

We will continue to be prudent in our spending; we have a history of strict budget management and service changes and efficiencies since amalgamation.

 

Residents

For the average residential ratepayer, the proposed changes will mean around 60 cents extra per week in the first year followed by $1.35 per week increases each year for the following 4 years.

Businesses

For the average business ratepayer, the proposed changes will mean $4.30 extra per week in the first year followed by $5.50 per week increases each year for the following 4 years.

 

You told us

Our consultation with the community about possible changes to rates, as well as strategic planning revealed:

  • You value the things that make Georges River special - green open spaces, our river, convenient location and transport, a diverse culture, strong social services and a varied and productive economy.

  • You support one fair, equitable and consistent rating system for Georges River Council ratepayers, in which the minimum rate paid is the same across the entire local government area.

  • You support a higher business minimum rate and a differential business rate between the main town centres at Kogarah and Hurstville.

  • You don’t want to see radical service reduction but expect to see efficient operating models and focus on the core services of Council alongside increased user-pay approaches (fees and charges).

  • You would support an increase to the total rates income which Council can collect to provide the services the community value, meet the cost pressures of a growing population and address the loss of $2.3m from lapsing old Hurstville Council income.

  • You think it is unfair that Council's rate income is not permitted to increase consistent with development and population growth.
     

What is the proposal?

The proposal is designed to meet the mandatory requirement for one rating system. 

Currently the former Kogarah and Hurstville Council areas have different rating systems. Last year the community told us it wants a single, consistent and more equitable approach to rates across the Georges River.

Council will create a new single minimum rate which will in effect increase the minimum rate in the former Hurstville to the same level as the current Kogarah rate.

This would reduce the gap between rates charged for houses and apartments.
 

Sustainability

At the same time, Council is proposing to ensure service and financial sustainability by seeking permission to increase its total rates income to manage past and future population growth and increasing service demand. This is proposed as a gradual increase over 5 years.

Did you know that the rates do not increase as development and population increases?

 

What happens if the proposal isn’t approved?

Council’s service portfolio is complex and diverse. It provides 200 services which our community members value, and are essential to a thriving and growing community.

If the Council’s total rate income does not increase over the next 5 years as proposed by this rate increase, we will be forced to reduce or cease many services. We will be unable to respond to the needs of future population growth which will continue to strain service quality. This will result in higher use/overuse of current assets and poorer condition standards.

Houses in the old Kogarah Council area will pay almost three times what an apartment currently pays (an average increase of $300) and apartments will drop – broadening the inequity instead of addressing it.

Houses in the old Hurstville Council area will have an average decrease of $25 and those who had a large rate increase in 2020/21 will not receive a reduction.

Council has and will continue to find savings, efficiencies and implement improved operating models but without the rate income increase, deep cuts to services will be inevitable.

Our previous consultations have told us that the majority of residents support maintaining current service standards but if you think there should be service reductions, we want you to have your say at yoursay.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au.
 

What if I can't pay my rates?

Council has a range of measures to assist individuals who have difficulty paying their rates. You will find details of Council’s Debt Management and Hardship Policy online.
 


 


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