Yarrawonga Chronicle

Have your say to IPART


Submission­s have opened for residents within the Federation Council Local Government Area to have their say on council's Special Rate Variation applicatio­n with the determinin­g body - the Independen­t Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

Federation Council is one of thirteen councils across NSW that have applied to (IPART) for a special variation to increase income from rates above the rate peg.

The Special Rate Variation proposed for Federation Council is for four years from 2023/24 to 2026/27 at 19%, 17%, 14% and 10%, inclusive of any maximum rate peg amount set by IPART each year.

IPART will determine the applicatio­n across the following criterions: a demonstrat­ed need for higher increases to charges; community awareness of their plans; a reasonable impact on ratepayers; a process to exhibit relevant council documents to the public; and a history of well-documented council productivi­ty improvemen­ts and cost containmen­t strategies.

“We will assess applicatio­ns against the criteria establishe­d by the Office of Local Government, which require councils to demonstrat­e the need for the additional revenue, evidence of community consultati­on and an assessment of the impact on affected ratepayers,” IPART Tribunal Chair Carmel Donnelly said.

“This year some councils have applied for large increases in rates above the rate peg through special variations. We always conduct a feedback process where the community can have its say on the applicatio­ns, IPART welcomes all input from residents about a council’s applicatio­n for a special variation

and IPART is accepting submission­s on the councils’ applicatio­ns until March 3.”

Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke said he is not surprised that there have been numerous SRV applicatio­ns lodged from other councils, applying for increases from 2023/24 onwards.

“The past five years especially, has seen many councils apply and receive approval,” he said.

“I think the applicatio­ns speak volumes for the current state that many councils across NSW are facing, from 45 years of rate pegging, where councils were never able to increase rates to a level to match the ever-increasing

costs to council from providing services including managing deteriorat­ing assets such as roads.

“As an example, council’s road costs for materials alone increase conservati­vely above 10 to 15 per cent each year at times in areas such as diesel, emulsion, and aggregate, and of course significan­t electricit­y increases continue across our facilities as well.”

Mayor Bourke said council is aware there are some applicatio­ns higher than Federation Council’s, and some being sought to be phased in over two and not four years like council has applied for.

“Every applicatio­n in this round from the 13 councils across NSW that have applied will be assessed by IPART on their merits as they should be,” he said.

“Applicatio­ns such as these are difficult decisions for any council to make, but I know our council has made its decision in the best interest of our communitie­s for the long term. Our community for years has expressed their desire for our region to grow and prosper, and it needs to. And irrespecti­ve of any growth, council’s core services such as roads and other infrastruc­ture need additional ongoing funding to get on top of the backlog caused by years of underfundi­ng, and to bring maintenanc­e levels up to responsibl­e levels and of course

this comes at a cost.”

Mayor Bourke said council is very aware of the cost-of-living pressures in the LGA and that was a huge factor in its decision to take a staged approach of applying for an SRV that if successful could be implemente­d over a fouryear period.

“Council will also receive a report in the next few months, on pensioner subsidy options, to ensure we take into further considerat­ion the impact our rate rise would have on our most financiall­y vulnerable in our communitie­s and to look at continued ways to best support these ratepayers,” he said.

“It’s an ongoing balance of addressing the significan­t and urgent asset needs such as roads and drainage, versus ensuring council is considerat­e of broader economic factors affecting our ratepayers. I can assure people it is always front of mind for this council.”

All NSW councils’ applicatio­ns are available for review at: www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/ Home/ Industries/ Local- Government/ Reviews/Special-Variations-Minimum-Rates/ Special-Variations-Minimum-Rates-2023-24

The website also has informatio­n about how to lodge a submission.

 ?? ?? Rates Review Committee Chairperso­n Derek Schoen addressing council at the January Council meeting in Urana.
Rates Review Committee Chairperso­n Derek Schoen addressing council at the January Council meeting in Urana.

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