Why do you pay rates

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, environmental planning and protection, public health and waste services. The rates you pay allow your council to fund these services.

How does Council decide how much you have to pay rates and charges?

Each Council has a revenue policy that sets the rates and charges you have to pay and how they will be calculated. Rates are based on the land value and category of your property, but may also include a minimum or fixed amount per property.
The land value is determined by Property NSW-Valuer General.

What if you don’t agree with the land value of your property?

Councils do not determine the land value of your property. Land is valued by the Department of Lands. These valuations are done approximately every four years and you should get a valuation notice after it is done. If you do not agree with the land value, you have 60 days to object to the Department of Lands. You can also appeal to the Land and Environment Court.

How does Council decide which category your property is in?

There are four categories for rating purposes:

  • Residential
  • Business
  • Farmland 
  • Mining

Most people are charged ordinary rates under the residential category. If you are not satisfied with the category given to your property, you can apply to Council for a review or appeal to the Land and Environment Court.

How can you find out what your rate and charges are going to be?

Councils prepare draft management plans each year that include their proposed revenue policy for the following years. This plan is put on public exhibition to give members of the public the opportunity to comment on.

What is rate pegging?

The Government sets a limit on the total amount of income a Council can raise from certain rates and charges. This is called the rate-peg percentage and it is specified by the Minister for Local Government each year. Within rate pegging, rates on some properties may go up while others may go down.

Do you have to pay a domestic waste management service charge?

Yes. The Local Government Act requires Councils to levy an annual charge for providing domestic waste management service on all rateable land, whether or not the service is actually used.

As a pensioner, are you eligible for a concession on your rates?

You may be eligible for a concession if you receive a pension from either Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and have a pensioner concession card (PCC). You may be entitled to, for example, a rebate of up to $250 on your rates.

Rates, Charges and Pensioner Concession

What if you can’t afford to pay rates?

You may be eligible for a concession on the grounds of hardship. Councils may also be able to help you by agreeing to alternative payment plans or writing of interest on unpaid rates. 

Application for Consideration of Hardship(PDF, 5MB)