By Staff Writer
Regulatory changes related to the separation of land and water for rating purposes will help councils continue to provide essential infrastructure and services for their communities, says the Shires Association of NSW.
Announced by Local Government Minister Paul Lynch, the amendments will make it easier for councils to maintain their rate revenue by creating sub-categories for irrigable farmland properties, says President of the Shires Association of NSW, Cr Col Sullivan.
“The separation of land and water for rating purposes has impacted councils’ rate base, and in turn their ability to maintain rate revenue," he said.
“We are pleased the Minister and the Department have responded to the calls for measures to help councils deal with the implications of the separation of land and water.
"The amendments will certainly make it easier for councils to move to the new system, and ensure they can maintain the revenue they collect from rates.
“We are also pleased that the Department sought input from councils and the Associations in developing the regulations.”
He says councils will be able to use reductions in land values to determine the allocation of those sub-categories, and now also have the option of deferring implementation of the new system until the council has had a general re-valuation.
Cr Sullivan did however suggest the regulations could have gone further and that adjusting to the new system will remain difficult for many of the affected councils.
“The Association would like to have seen additional changes that would, for example, allow the phasing in of new valuations, the removal of the 20 per cent cap on farmland rate increases, or the introduction of a 20 per cent cap on rate reductions.”
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