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Rating policies

Last updated: 7/01/2017 12:01 AM
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​​Under the Local Government Act 1995, the Minister for Local Government is authorised to approve the following in relation to rates:

  • The imposition of a differential general rate which is twice the lowest differential general rate imposed by a local government.
  • A minimum payment on vacant land that does not comply with legislative provisions.
  • Changes in the method of valuation of land.
  • Valuation of land - mining.
  • Land exempt from rates.

The Minister for Local Government has endorsed policies that guide the exercise of the power to approve the imposition of rates or guide the power to determine the method of valuation of land.

Application forms have also been developed to ensure that applicants provide the necessary information for applications for approval. The forms are available in the policy documents.

How are rates set?

The quantum of rates payable is determined by three factors: the method of valuation of the land; the valuation of the land and improvements; and the rate in the dollar applied to that valuation by the local government.

The Minister for Local Government determines the appropriate method for the valuation of the land in accordance with the relevant legislation and the rating policy on the valuation of land: that is, whether the unimproved value or the gross rental value of the land applies. This is based on the purpose for which the land is held or used.

The Valuer General values the land in accordance with the provisions of the Valuation of Land Act 1978. More information is available in the Valuer General’s Guide to Rating and Taxing Values.

As part of its budgetary process, a local government will establish its budget deficit and set its rates to cover this shortfall. These will be imposed as a rate in the dollar which will be applied to the valuation determined by the Valuer General.

If a local government decides to impose differential general rates (that is, apply different rates according to zoning, land use, whether the land is vacant or a combination of these factors), it must advertise these proposed rates in a newspaper circulating generally throughout the district and on a noticeboard at the local government’s offices and all libraries in the district.

This will occur after 1 May in any year and must provide a minimum of 21 days after the advertisement appears for any elector or ratepayer to make a submission. Submissions must be considered by council before imposing the proposed rate or minimum payment with or without modification.

Rating Decisions and the Budget Process webinar

Differential rates

The Differential Rates Policy provides guidance on Ministerial approval for the imposition of a differential general rate which is more than twice the lowest differential rate. Included with the policy is an application form that outlines the necessary information and attachments required to enable the Minister to make a decision. To assist with the requirements of section 6.36, the Rating Policy – Giving Notice has been developed. Local governments are encouraged to review this policy to ensure compliance with the public notice requirements.​

Differential Rates Policy and Application Form

Rating Policy – Giving Notice

Minimum payments

The Minimum Payments Policy provides guidance on Ministerial approval for the imposition of a minimum payment on vacant land which does not comply with legislative provisions covering the number or percentage of properties affected.  Included with the policy is an application form that outlines the necessary information and attachments required to enable the Minister for Local Government to make a decision. To assist with the requirements of section 6.36, the Rating Policy – Giving Notice has been developed. Local governments are encouraged to review this policy to ensure compliance with the public notice requirements.

Minimum Payments Policy and Application Form

Valuation of land

The Valuation of Land Rating Policy provides guidance underpinning the Ministerial determination on the method of valuation of land for rating purposes.  Included with the policy are two application forms that outline the necessary information and attachments required to enable the Minister to make a decision.

Valuation of Land Rating Policy and Application Form 

Valuation of land - mining

The Valuation of Land - Mining Policy provides guidance underpinning the Ministerial determination on the method of valuation of land for rating purposes where that land is subject to a mining tenement under the Mining Act 1978 or a permit, drilling reservation, lease or licence held under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 (known as a 'relevant interest').

See also Ministerial Circular M05-2015 – Gross Rental Value Rating of Mining Tenements - Policy.

Valuation of Land - Mining Policy and Application Form

Rateable land

The Rateable Land Policy provides guidance underpinning the Ministerial declaration on land exempt from rates. Included with the policy is an application form that outlines the necessary information and attachments required to enable the Minister to make a decision.

Rateable Land Policy and Application Form

Revestment of land in the Crown

The Revestment of Land in the Crown process information sheet provides local governments with the guidance on the process to apply to the Minister for Local Government to have land revested in the Crown if rates for that land have been unpaid for at least three years and the property is rateable land and vacant.

The information sheet is to be read in conjunction with Local Government Operational Guidelines: Number 22 - Possession of Land for Recovery of Rates and Service Changes which addresses the statutory requirements of a revestment.