2024-25 Special Variation and Minimum Rate Applications

Local councils seeking a special variation to general income above the rate peg amount, or to increase minimum rate levels above the statutory limit, are required to submit applications to IPART for review and assessment.

Councils should contact IPART to discuss their application as early as possible in the process.

There are 2 special variation options under the Local Government Act:

  • a single year increase under section 508(2), or
  • a multi-year increase (of between 2 and 7 years) under section 508A.

Special variation and minimum rate increase applications should be submitted through IPART's Council Portal . We have recently upgraded to a new portal for accepting applications from councils. Councils who had previously registered (pre- July 2023) will need to re-register for the new portal. We have prepared User Guides to assist councils to register, navigate and submit applications through the portal. 

Application Forms

Application forms for 2024-25 are available:

  • Special Variation (SV) - Part B
  • Minimum Rate (MR) Increase - Part B

The Part A application form is available here. Please note for this year, an SV and MR Increase application is covered by a single Part A application form.

OLG Guidelines

While IPART has been delegated responsibility for assessing and determining SV and MR increases, the Government has retained responsibility for setting the policy framework under which applications will be assessed.

Councils applying for an SV and/or MR increase must comply with the requirements set out by the OLG:

IPART Guidance materials

This year we have published a single guidance booklet that explains how to prepare an SV application - Special Variations: How to prepare and apply  (‘booklet').

Previously, we published an information paper about community awareness and engagement for the SV and MR increase process. This information is now provided in section 4 of the booklet.

For minimum rates increase applications, guidance is provided in the Part A and Part B application forms, but you may also wish to review the booklet for certain information (such as section 4).

See past special variation and minimum rate increase applications and determinations.

Notification Letters

The OLG Guidelines urge councils to inform IPART if they intend to apply for a special variation. Unlike previous years, there is no longer a firm date for councils to formally notify IPART if they intend to apply for a special variation or minimum rate increase for 2024-25.   

We encourage all councils intending to apply to contact IPART to discuss their application as early as possible in the process. 

Timeline

Below is an indicative timeline for the special variation and minimum rate increase applications for 2024-25.

Outcome Date
Contact IPART if the council intends to apply No date
Special Variation applications due 5 February 2024
Minimum Rate Variation applications due 5 February 2024
Determinations announced for Special Variation and Minimum Rate Variations May 2024

Assumed rate peg for 2025-26 and future years

Special variation applications

Councils applying for a special variation in 2024-25 should use the 2024-25 rate peg set by IPART in their applications. This will be released around November 2023. An assumed rate peg of 2.5% should be used for 2025-26 and future years as advised by the OLG Guidelines. If a council elects to use a different assumed rate peg percentage, the rationale for doing so must be explained in its Part B application form. 

Long term financial plan reviews and updates

We encourage councils that are updating or reviewing their Long Term Financial Plans to refer to the Office of Local Government’s Integrated Planning & Reporting Handbook for Local Councils in NSW  and seek advice from the Office of Local Government where necessary to determine their revenue forecasts for rates and charges for future years.

How can the community engage with IPART?

We will publish the Special Variation and Minimum Rates applications in 2024-25 on our website around February or March 2024. Members of the community will then be able to view and make comment on the proposals in the applications. A fact sheet on how the community can engage with the 2024-25 assessment process is available here.

Enquiries

Any enquiries regarding special variation or minimum rate applications should be directed to Jisoo Mok by email to jisoo.mok@ipart.nsw.gov.au or by phone on (02) 9019 1955.