IPART hands down ruling on rate increases

The New South Wales Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has handed down its ruling for five Sydney councils seeking rate increases, providing a 2.7% rate increase from the start of July this year.

The applications made by the Sydney councils of Burwood, Hunters Hill, Ku-ring-gai, Randwick and Sutherland have all been approved in full, while North Sydney Council’s application has been partially approved, with rates to increase by 22.5% over three years, instead of the 40.3%.

If adopted in 2019-20, the increases in the average residential rates across these six NSW metropolitan councils would range from $40 in the case of Ku-ring-gai, up to $170 in Hunter’s Hill.

These increases include the 2.7% rate peg, which can be applied by all councils from 1 July 2019.

IPART Chair Dr Paul Paterson said special variations give councils flexibility to generate additional income above the rate peg to meet specific needs.

Council applications are independently assessed by IPART against the NSW Government’s published criteria. Submissions received directly from stakeholders are also considered.

“In making these assessments, we have considered whether there is a genuine financial need for additional revenue to allow a council to be financially sustainable, and fund infrastructure projects or asset renewal requirements of their regions,” Dr Paterson said.

“We also look at efforts made by the various councils to reduce their costs and identify other sources of revenue, as well as the capacity and willingness of ratepayers to pay the requested increase.”

Through the rate peg and special variation process, IPART determines the allowable increases to councils’ general income. Councils decide whether to implement the increase and how it is allocated among different ratepayer categories, such as residential or business rates.

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