NSW extends deadline for rates harmonisation

The New South Wales Government has moved to extend the deadline for recently amalgamated councils to harmonise their rates.

The move by the State Government has been welcomed by Local Government New South Wales, whose president Linda Scott said that it would provide assurance that the complicated issue could be resolved.

“Harmonising rates across old council boundaries – a requirement for amalgamated council areas - is a complicated process, which will inevitably result in rate changes for some property owners,” Cr Scott said.

“Councils are committed to making this process as fair as possible, and while some are on track to meet the old June 2020 deadline, others need to work with a significantly greater number of affected landowners.

“A 12-month extension to the deadline will deliver the best possible outcomes and LGNSW thanks Minister Hancock for her swift action in response to our advocacy on this issue.”

The legislative amendments introduced by the Minister also include moves to:

  • reduce red tape around council tendering arrangements by raising the threshold value to $250,000

  • make it easier to spread the regulatory burden by allowing some functions to be shared or delegated by agreement to fellow councils, who may be better resourced or have particular expertise

  • extend the cut-off dates by which councils need to decide whether to outsource administration of the 2020 local government elections to the Electoral Commission.

“The extension to cut-off dates around elections is also smart, as it means councils will be able to digest the results of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s review into the costs of local government elections, currently under way,” Cr Scott said.