The NSW Government’s long-awaited response to a detailed review of the local government rating system, announced this month, is a welcome step towards a fairer and more modern rating system for councils and communities according to Local Government NSW (LGNSW).
LGNSW President Linda Scott said she was pleased the NSW Government had listened to councils’ calls for improvements to how rates were determined following the release of an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) report in 2016.
“IPART’s recommendations provided a strong base for long overdue reform to ensure the financial sustainability of NSW councils,” Cr Scott said.
“Today’s announcement by the NSW Government, proposing adoption of many of the reforms proposed by IPART, is a welcome outcome and is a result of our persistent advocacy on behalf of councils and their communities.
“Government’s response to the IPART report will significantly improve equity in the rating system and provide greater flexibility to councils to respond to community views in developing local rating policies.
“Importantly, it will provide councils with greater capacity for providing rate relief in times of natural disaster and economic difficulties by making it easier for councils to defer rate increases.”
Cr Scott said other positives included:
⦁ Government support for additional land use categorisation and sub-categorisation options, resulting in greater rating flexibility;
⦁ The Government’s rejection of replacing pensioner rate rebates with a rate deferral system.
“These are all positive steps and will give councils much needed flexibility going forward,” Cr Scott said.
“We are also pleased that many of the other recommendations are still on the table and will be given further consideration, and we look forward to the Government consulting with the sector on them.
“These reforms are long overdue, and urgent. Councils urge the NSW Government to implement these committed reforms as soon as possible, and work with LGNSW to implement further IPART recommendations still under consideration.”