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Rates harmonisation and Special Rates Variation

04/06/2020

Current legislation requires Council to have a harmonised rating structure adopted for the financial year commencing 1 July 2021.

On 10 February 2020 Council made the decision not to proceed with the harmonised minimum rates and special rate variation applications to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in 2019/2020. This allowed Council time to defer consideration and investigate staff and salary reductions before the proposed rates changes. COVID-19 did not play any part in the deferral decision.

This included the consideration of the Community Engagement Report, Business Rates, Residential Rates, Special Rate Variation and the Submission of Harmonised Minimum Rates and Special Rate Variation Applications.

Council’s draft budget for 2020/21 included significant reductions in expenditure including $9 million worth of operational programs and services and capital projects being deferred, reduced or deleted from the works program. Major items include:
  • Reduction in employee costs, including no increases budgeted for the mandated annual Award increase
  • Reduction in staff benefits such as the staff conference and Learning and Development program
  • Removal of the Councillor Discretionary Ward fund
  • Removal of the voluntary pensioner rebate
  • Deferral of capital projects such as the new skate park, public art program, synthetic fields program, San Souci Bathers Pavilion construction, and new playgrounds.
Council is legally obliged to commence the harmonisation process again and will undertake extensive community consultation over the coming months.

Currently Council has approved over 180 interest free payment arrangements for ratepayers. 86% are residential and 14% have been business rates.

To date Council has only received one pensioner hardship application relating to COVID-19.

Under NSW legislation, Council provides a mandatory pensioner rebate up to $250 per annum, at a cost of $2 million per year.

In 2019/20 Council resolved to also provide an additional voluntary pensioner rebate of $150 to pensioners at an additional cost to council of $1.2 million.

For information on Georges River Council, please visit www.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au or call 9330 6400.
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